February 22, 2020

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Early birds line up for campsites

Folk fest patrons look forward to extra day

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/7/2009 (3880 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Grant Zimmer, who was selling raffle tickets, works the crowd Wednesday evening.


Grant Zimmer, who was selling raffle tickets, works the crowd Wednesday evening.

BIRD'S HILL PARK — A two- kilometre long line-up of cars outside the Birds Hill Provincial Park at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday meant only thing — the 36th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival is under way.

The festival started a day early for the first time, with a main stage performance Wednesday night headlined by Elvis Costello and the Imposters.

But for the hundreds of early birds in line down Highway 59 Wednesday morning, some of whom left the city before 5 a.m., it was all about securing the best camping spots.

"I'm hoping to get a camping spot in the trees so we can put our tarp up," said Chris Madden, 27. "You don't want to have to camp in the field."

In addition to Costello's Wednesday night performance other mainstage headliners include King Sunny Adé and His African Beats, The Del Mccoury Band, Iron & Wine, Neko Case, Okkervil River, Arlo Guthrie and Loreena McKennitt.

Asked who he was especially looking forward to seeing, Madden said, "To be honest, I love the camping. It's so much fun. The atmosphere is great. The second someone pulls out a 10-foot hula hoop...."

Winnipegger Del Barber, 25 was in the early morning line up for the seventh year in a row. This year he brought his friend Nick Wells, 24, from Chicago.

"The extra day is going to be too much," Barber said enthusiastically. "We're looking forward to seeing Josh Ritter and Okkervil River."

Highway construction on Highway 59 is eliminating one lane for both north and southbound traffic which could slow traffic all weekend.

But the beautiful sunny weather Wednesday morning had spirits high just before the park gates opened at 7 a.m.

And according to Environment Canada's forecast, weather conditions for the weekend could be almost ideal (especially compared to hellish winds and rain that almost blew the festival away last year).


Martin Cash

Martin Cash

Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.

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