WEATHER ALERT

Festival du Voyageur is back in person

Iconic winter festival set to showcase more performers than ever

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St. Boniface

Winnipeg

The countdown is on.

Festival du Voyageur is set to return to full in-person programming this year after a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus.

Individuals are being invited to reignite their joie de vivre at the 54th edition of Western Canada’s largest winter festival of its kind, which will be held from Feb. 17 to 26.

Photo by Simon Fuller

Individuals are being invited to reignite their joie de vivre at the 54th edition of Western Canada’s largest winter festival of its kind, which will be held from Feb. 17 to 26.

At a media event on Jan. 17 at Fort Gibraltar to launch this year’s edition, Festival du Voyageur’s executive director Darrel Nadeau said there should be something for everyone — not least because the largest number of artists in the festival’s history will be performing this year. Aptly, the heated tents in Parc du Voyageur will be bigger this year, too.

“There will be more than 200 artists, which is the most ever,” Nadeau said, noting organizers have been planning for this for the last three years.

“Whatever your age or background — if the joie de vivre doesn’t heat you up, our heated tents will. I’m very excited for the 2023 edition of Festival du Voyageur,” he later added.

According to a news release, the musical lineup boasts an eclectic mix of nationally known names and emerging local artists, who will be performing at various venues.

The list of francophone artists alone includes Louis-Jean Cormier, Marie-Pierre Arthur, Édith Butler, Michel Pagliaro, LGS (Le Groupe Swing), les Rats d’Swompe, Radio Radio, Ça Claque!, Andrina Turenne, Kelly Bado, Jérémie and the Delicious Hounds, and Dr. Henry Band.

Outdoors, there will be more snow sculptures than ever, including the International Snow Sculpture Symposium, as well as new interactive sculptures. Visitors will be able to keep warm by taking in the Infinity Fire, and — as always — there will plenty of tasty treats for guests to enjoy, whether it’s sticky maple taffy or a glass of caribou or a drop of Festi Broue — a new beer created in partnership with Nonsuch Brewing Co. for the occasion.

There will also be a big focus on Indigenous art, Nadeau said, as Festival is collaborating with 15 local and national artists; there will be both physical and digital art installations throughout the park.

Add to the mix a full return of children’s activities, historical interpretations in Fort Gibraltar and the fact the Boîte à chansons — a mobile concert trailer — has found a home in the new Terrasse à chansons where festivalgoers can eat, drink, dance, and be merry, there conceivably should be something for everyone.

There is also a new ticketing structure this year, with four types of tickets available, to help mitigate standing in long lineups to get in.

Photo by Simon Fuller

Festival du Voyageur’s executive director Darrel Nadeau is pictured at a media event at Fort Gibraltar on Jan. 17. The event is set to return to full in-person programming this year after a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus.

Festival’s president, Eric Plamondon, said he’s proud of how organizers and FDV’s team pivoted during the pandemic to produce hybrid events.

“I was very proud of Festival’s offerings in 2021 and 2022, and very proud we found a different logistical framework to deliver a cultural experience,” Plamondon said.

“Festival du Voyageur is what it is because of you. When I’m asked if Festival is a musical festival, I say: ‘yeah, in part.’ Different parts make up the whole, and the joie de vivre wouldn’t happen without you.

“Whatever your name may be, consider yourself officially part of the program. The countdown is on.”

Go online at heho.ca or download the 2023 Festival du Voyageur mobile app for more information.

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at simon.fuller@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7111.

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