Believe it or not, summer festival season is right around the corner, and as per usual, every week from the start of June until the middle of September is packed with options for music and entertainment lovers of all kinds.
There are the big names in the game — the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Dauphin’s Countryfest — but in the last decade or so, dozens of smaller events have popped up all over the province, providing more options than ever for a place to plant your extra-low, festival-specific folding chair.
As a bonus, a lot of these festivals have free components as well, if budget is at the top of your mind.
To help you out, we’ve catalogued the details of some of the biggest and most popular summer festivals below. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start if you’re interested in increasing your entertainment options this summer.
What: "Back 40 has a vision to elevate homemade music in southern Manitoba. To provide world-class developing and performing opportunities to local musicians," says the festival’s website.
When: June 3, noon to dusk
Where: Morden Park Bowl, Morden
Headlining acts: Watermelon Slim, Dirty Catfish Brass Band, Scott Nolan, Frannie Klein
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the gate, $10 for students, 12 and under are admitted free
More info: Back40folkfest.com
What: Features local, Canadian and international artists from the jazz genre, as well as tangentially related genres such as soul, hip-hop and art-pop. In addition to the ticketed events, there are also lots of free music available in Old Market Square for much of the 11-day festival.
When: June 14-24
Where: Various venues in downtown Winnipeg
Headlining acts: The Flaming Lips, Chris Botti, Tune-Yards, Daniel Caesar, Jill Barber
Tickets: Seven-show pass - $350; five-show pass - $250; three-show pass - $100; Good Will pass - $60; tickets for individual theatre shows vary in price.
More info: Jazzwinnipeg.com
What: Formerly Aboriginal Music Week, the sākihiwē festival is designed to develop Indigenous youth as an audience for live music. Anywhere from 20-30 First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Native American and Indigenous music acts are featured each year. The new name, given to the festival in February by sundance chief David Blacksmith, means "to love" in Cree. Some acts are presented in collaboration with the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, which takes place at the same time.
When: June 15-17
Where: Treaty One Territory (various venues/stages in downtown Winnipeg)
Headlining acts: Iskwé, Jeremy Dutcher, Desirée Dorion
Tickets: Grand Entry on June 15 at the Good Will Social Club — $10, plus fees; all other events are free.
More info: sakihiwe.ca
What: Manitoba’s annual summer fair includes animal and agricultural exhibits, Highland games, military showcase, Firefit competition, carnival shows, canine stars, pancake breakfasts, fireworks displays, mainstage musical acts, midway rides and more.
When: June 15-24
Where: Red River Exhibition Park
Headlining musical acts: Meghan Patrick, Attica Riots, James Barker Band, the Dead South, the Washboard Union, Terra Lightfoot and Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd.
Tickets: Advance gate tickets are $12 and are on sale until June 24 at Giant Tiger, Safeway, Sobey’s, Mac’s, Peavey Mart and redriverex.com. Mainstage entertainment is included in the gate admission.
More info: redriverex.com
What: Canada’s longest running country music festival held annually every July long weekend.
When: June 28-July 1
Where: Dauphin (the Selo Ukraina site is located 10 kilometres south of Dauphin on Highway 10)
Headlining acts: Eric Church, Paul Brandt, Florida Georgia Line
Tickets: Weekend admission — $279; Thursday — $49; Friday/Saturday/Sunday single day — $99 each; 12 and under are admitted free; camping and VIP passes also available.
More info: Countryfest.ca
What: Hip-hop, R&B and soul festival and conference.
When: June 29 - July 1
Where: Exchange District, Winnipeg
Headlining acts: Dai Burger, Brittany Lynch, 3Peat
Tickets: All access pass — $50; three-day music pass — $25, at northerntouchmusicfestival.ca
What: Annual four-day folk festival at Birds Hill Provincial Park features dozens of artists from around the world as well as from our own backyard. The festival uses both an evening main stage and daytime workshop settings to showcase its lineup.
When: July 5-8
Where: Birds Hill Provincial Park
Headlining acts: Sheryl Crow, Bahamas, Courtney Barnett, Elle King, the Strumbellas
Tickets: Full festival pass — $234 ($150 for youth and senior); Single-day tickets range in price from $70-$90 (reduced-price youth and senior tickets available); 12 and under are free. Camping passes also available.
More info: Winnipegfolkfestival.ca
What: Canada’s largest EDM — electronic dance music — event.
When: July 15, 3 p.m.- 11 p.m.
Where: Assiniboia Downs
Headlining acts: Illesium, Knife Party, Felix Cartal, Zomboy, Joyryde, Loud Luxury
Tickets: General admission tickets - $98; VIP tickets - $128
More info: Summerofsound.ca
What: One of Canada’s biggest fringe theatre festivals takes over the Exchange District and Old Market Square for 12 days. This year’s edition is the festival’s 31st and welcomes 180 productions from around the world.
When: July 18-29
Where: Mostly the Exchange District, but its 30 theatre venues include locations downtown, The Forks and the West End. Street performers and musical acts perform at the Cube at Old Market Square every night of the festival.
Tickets: Frequent Fringer passes are already on sale at winnipegfringe.com. A 14-show pass is $123 and a seven-show pass is $63. Single tickets for all shows will be available at individual venues.
More info: winnipegfringe.com
What: Indie music festival started in 2014 with a goal of making Winnipeg a more frequent stop for touring indie bands. Features both local and international music acts.
When: July 27-29
Headlining acts: Tops, Nnamdi Ogbonaya, Hooded Fang, Varsity
Tickets: Weekend pass with camping — $75; Single-day passes range from $35-$45.
More info: Reallovesummerfest.com
What: Rock festival that occurs annually over the August long weekend.
When: Aug. 3-5
Where: Lake Minnedosa
Headlining acts: Burton Cummings, Trooper, Three Days Grace, Kim Mitchell, Chilliwack
Tickets: Weekend pass — $182.25; weekend deck pass (provides access to covered deck and other amenities) — $269.80. Camping passes also available.
More info: Rockinthefields.ca
What: Winnipeg’s annual celebration and exploration of its multicultural mosaic offers 44 different volunteer-run pavilions of music, dancing, food, drink and other cultural activities. It’s the largest and longest-running multicultural festival in the world.
When: Aug. 5-18
Where: At venues across Winnipeg.
Tickets: VIP tour tickets ($39.95-$74.95) are available at folklorama.ca. Multi-pack tickets ($54 for 12 tickets) and general admission tickets ($6) go on sale July 1.
More info: folklorama.ca
What: Indie music festival that hosts artists from all genres and is 100 per cent volunteer driven. This year marks the festival’s 10-year anniversary.
When: Aug. 17-19
Where: Roseau River, south of St. Malo
Headlining acts: Announced June 1
Tickets: Full weekend passes with camping — $100; without camping — $75. Individual day passes range in price from $25-$40 and will be available at the festival gate only.
More info: Rainbowtroutmusicfestival.com
What: Two-day festival that includes musical performances (both ticketed and free), as well as a barbecue competition and food stations offering up wood-smoked treats.
When: Aug. 17-18
Where: Smith Street and the Burton Cummings Theatre
Headlining acts: Blue Oyster Cult, Headstones
Tickets: Access to the outdoor portion of the festival is free; Blue Oyster Cult tickets range in price from $39-$174.20; Headstones tickets range in price from $39-$165.49.
More info: Winnipegbbqandblues.ca
What: Electronic music and digital arts festival that is "dedicated to the dissemination and development of digital creativity in sound, music and audio-visual art." Concerts, workshops and performances take place all over downtown Winnipeg, and the festival focuses on giving Manitoban artists and musicians an outlet to show their work.
When: Aug. 16-19
Where: Downtown Winnipeg
Headlining acts: Mr. C, Jay Tripwire, Pezzner, the Librarian
Tickets: Early bird pass - $70; Tickets for individual shows vary in price
More info: Memefest.ca
What: Second edition of the one-day rock festival features classic acts, most of whom are Canadian.
When: Aug. 23, 4 p.m.
Where: Shaw Park
Headlining acts: Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Kim Mitchell, Holly Woods & Toronto, Grew Leskiw with Monster Hollow
Tickets: Advance tickets — $65; Gate tickets — $75; VIP package — $95.
What: A music and food festival focused on locally sourced goods, educational workshops and folk music. A fair trade farmer’s market is also on site.
When: Sept. 14-16
Headlining acts: Lineup is announced Tuesday
Tickets: No pricing information available; tickets go on sale June 15
More info: Harvestmoonfestival.ca
Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.
Updated on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 10:55 AM CDT: Photo fixed.