July 4, 2020

18° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Free Press



Putting winter on pause

Festival encourages audiences to explore the West End

It can be tough to churn up the motivation to get out of the house in January. It’s cold, it’s dark and the post-holiday blues and fatigue make binge-watching a series on Netflix preferable to almost any other activity.

Festival preview

Click to Expand

● Jan. 22-25
● Various venues
● Tickets: range in price from $10-$30 in advance, visit wecc.ca for purchasing information

But for a while — eight years to be exact — the Big Fun Festival provided a real reason (for music lovers, anyway) to get out and about in January, bringing in an eclectic collection of musicians to an eclectic collection of venues each year.

In June 2019, festival organizers stated Big Fun would be going on hiatus, leaving a gap in winter musical programming during the weeks post-holiday concerts and prior to the Winnipeg New Music Festival, which paved the way for Winterruption to land in Winnipeg.

Leonard Sumner headlines Wednesday's Winterruption concert at the WECC. (Supplied)

Leonard Sumner headlines Wednesday's Winterruption concert at the WECC. (Supplied)

Winterruption, a music festival, has been running in Regina and Saskatoon since 2015, and along the way has added Edmonton, Swift Current, Sask., and, now, Winnipeg to its roster of participating cities.

Winnipeg’s Winterruption will take place at venues throughout the West End, including the Good Will Social Club, X-Cues Billiards, the Handsome Daughter and the West End Cultural Centre, starting tonight and winding up Saturday.

Artistry infused with green vision

Click to Expand

Posted: 21/01/2020 7:00 PM

When the Free Press calls, avant-garde pop artist Hannah Epperson answers her phone from Chicago, where she has a long layover between trains as she travels by rail from her adopted home of New York City to Vancouver, where she spent much of her youth.

“Train travel is the way of the future. It’s the way of the past, it’s gotta be the way of the future,” laughs the 32-year-old Salt Lake City native and Canadian permanent resident who is keen to limit her travel by air and car.

Read Full Story

"We wanted to make it a neighbourhood thing, which is not the same as what Big Fun was; Big Fun was a bit more downtown. We want to bring people to walk around the West End, there’s a big intent behind that, we want people to walk around the neighbourhood," says Jorge Requena Ramos, the West End Cultural Centre’s booking manager.

"We want to make sure that we’re creating an environment where people can go to a show at the Good Will and then go to a show at X-Cues, or come to a show here (at the WECC) and then go to the Handsome Daughter, we wanted it to be a more circulating, ambulant festival."

Though the festival is a chain of sorts, being under the Winterruption umbrella doesn’t really affect how Winnipeg organizers from the West End Cultural Centre, the Good Will Social Club and Real Love Winnipeg have planned and programmed the event. It does, however, allow artists to create a mini-tour by hitting up multiple Winterruptions in multiple cities, which makes touring the Prairies in dead of winter more enticing.

For the inaugural festival, nine shows take place over the four-day event and include headliners such as Manitobans Leonard Sumner (Wednesday, 8 p.m., WECC) and Lana Winterhalt (Thursday, 8 p.m., X-Cues), as well as 2 Heads hitmaker Coleman Hell (Thursday, 8 p.m., WECC) and avant-garde pop artist Hannah Epperson (Thursday, 9 p.m., Good Will), among others.

Lana Winterhalt takes to the stage Thursday night at X-Cues. (Supplied photo)

Lana Winterhalt takes to the stage Thursday night at X-Cues. (Supplied photo)

"We’re trying not to focus on genre to brand the festival in that way. We wanted it to be a mix of things, like Coleman Hell is a Top 40 artist, which is rare for the WECC and we want to introduce ourselves to those people," says Requena Ramos.

There are no festival passes for Winterruption this year, except for three "golden tickets" organizers gave away in a contest on Instagram, so attendees must purchase tickets, which range in price from $10 to $30, for each show individually. As an added incentive to check out multiple venues, those who attend shows at three or more venues in one night will be given a free beer.

Top 40 artist Coleman Hell is part of the Winterruption roster. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim / Canadian Press files)

Top 40 artist Coleman Hell is part of the Winterruption roster. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim / Canadian Press files)

It’s a small saving that Requena Ramos hopes will encourage movement from venue to venue, allowing attendees to explore more of the West End and to feel safe doing so.

"We’re very adamant that we want to let people know the West End isn’t a dangerous place. I feel like because of the shooting at the 7-Eleven and the other ‘crime streak’ of people stealing booze from the liquor commission or breaking into cars, I feel like we’re getting a bad rap," he says.

"We want to put on a good show so we can get back in people’s good books as a neighbourhood, so we’re making a big effort to bring people over here to our home in the West End."


Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

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.

Read full biography

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.