Manitoba musicians front, centre at Festival

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Hé ho, let’s go.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/01/2015 (2873 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hé ho, let’s go.

Evoking the Ramones seems appropriate: after all, the 46th annual Festival du Voyageur, which runs Feb. 13-22, is all about la musique.

This year, 130 artists will play “the world’s biggest kitchen party.” Of those 130 acts, more than 100 call Manitoba home — including celebrated Franco-Manitoban artists such as Chic Gamine, Carmen Campagne, Marijose anda Claque!. They will be joined by acclaimed francophone artists from outside the province, including Polaris Music Prize-nominated electro/hip-hop outfit Radio Radio, roots act Les Chercheurs d’or and folk band Le Vent du Nord, from Quebec, as well as Grammy winners BeauSoleil from Louisiana.

Buck 65, Elliott Brood, JP Hoe and Moses Mayes will be among the anglophone acts to perform at the festival.

“We are thrilled to not only be Western Canada’s largest francophone festival and Western Canada’s largest winter festival, we’re also proud to present, once again this year, more Manitoba musical acts than any other festival in the province,” Julien Desaulniers, Festival du Voyageur’s artistic producer, told reporters at a Tuesday press conference.

Speaking to the Free Press, Desaulniers notes that while Festival du Voyageur is a rich heritage event, he programs it like a music festival, with an eye toward bringing the best and brightest from the Canadian music scene to Voyageur Park — particularly francophone Qubcois acts who don’t often tour west of Ontario.

“Radio Radio has over a million views in Canada. They are rock stars in Quebec. To be able to bring them to Manitoba so our community can see them, up close and personal, to a room of 800 people when these guys can sell 2,000 or 3,000 seats, that’s pretty special,” he says.

Fort Gibraltar will host late-night activities for the first time this year.

The Bar Gibraltar will be a new nighttime hang where festival goers can dance, warm up around bonfires and watch fire jugglers.

Festival du Voyageur will also introduce a new Winter Feast, a fundraiser for Fort Gibraltar, at the Voyageur Trading Post on Feb. 14. Festival-goers can also check out many returning favourites, including the Beard Growing Contest on Feb. 20, Rendez-vous des chefs (the pea soup competition), Club Regent Casino’s Cajun Night and the jigging and fiddling contests, to name a few.

Of course, little revellers will have lots to do — from snow forts and slides to snowshoe workshops. In celebration of Louis Riel Day on Feb. 16, festivalgoers are invited to create a living Mtis flag, among other activities.

The joie de vivre won’t be confined to Voyageur Park. Nine other official sites — including the Voyageur Trading Post, Le Garage, Club St-B, l’Auberge du violon, Pioneers Trading Post, Club Regent Casino, Chez Sophie sur le pont and the Wood — will also host Festival du Voyageur events.

The Forks will host the Rendez-vous on Ice from Feb. 13-16, which features an outdoor bar, a fashion show on ice, a family day and more.

Ten-day Voyageur passes are on presale until Jan. 16 at www.heho.ca or by calling 204-233-ALLO. Regular Voyageur passes will be available at Safeway stores throughout the city and are $30 for adults, $16 for youth (age 13 to 17) and $11 for children. Admission is free for children under four.

A full schedule of events is available at www.heho.ca.

 

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

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Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti
Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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