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This article was published 10/10/2019 (999 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A group of city culture boosters have teamed up to create a new summer music festival billed as a "love letter to Winnipeg."
The inaugural Current Music Festival will take place at The Forks on Aug. 14-16, 2020, and is slated to be celebration of the city’s music, food, beverage and art scenes.
Festival director Monica Derksen says the event was inspired by the success of Interstellar Rodeo, an urban music and wine festival that ran in Winnipeg from 2015-17.
"When they left, I think it left a hole," she says. "We took the idea of the urban festival and refined it to focus on the things that we love and that’s basically Winnipeg and everything that’s amazing about Winnipeg."
The team behind the festival includes Jocelyne Nicolas and Erik Olek from Derksen’s event management company, Ethero, as well as some heavy hitters in the local culinary and music world.
Chef Ben Kramer of RAW:Almond, Table for 1200 and Diversity Foods will be in charge of recruiting and curating the local food vendor selection and Michael Falk, who resigned as artistic director of the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival on Wednesday, will serve as "sounds director."
"I’m really excited about the vision that Monica and her team have laid out for the festival, and I’m excited to take on a new challenge of building something from the ground up," says Falk, who has been with the jazz fest since 2016. "I think there’s room in Winnipeg for something that thinks forward the way they’re thinking. I think we can give Winnipeg a pretty good party."
The music lineup is still being determined, but Falk says it won’t be genre-specific.
Festival-goers may have to wait until the spring to find out who will be performing.
"We announced early because it is a new festival, and we want people to start thinking about it and talking about it," Derksen says. "We’re anticipating hopefully in April that we’ll have a full lineup with food, music, beverages, the whole bit, ready to be released."
The festival will be fully licensed and will occupy the same footprint that Interstellar Rodeo did at The Forks. Current, so named for the waterways that surround the venue and the relevance of the programming, will be the first cashless festival in Manitoba, meaning patrons will be able to make purchases with pre-loaded wristbands.
Weekend passes for the three-day festival are $249, but early-bird tickets are available for $149 at currentfestival.ca.
— with files from Jill Wilson
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.