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This article was published 15/7/2016 (1963 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
This year’s Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival on Aug. 5 will go ahead rain or shine, but Angela Roulette has prayed for good weather and safety for all who attend.
"Angela Roulette and the Women of Mother Earth Network are part of the planning of the Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival. We are working together as one; walking together as one," said Portage la Prairie Folk Festival Association founder and Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival co-organizer Linda Omichinski.
The fourth annual folk festival, put on by the Portage la Prairie Folk Festival Association, is being held on Omichinski and husband Mitchell’s 4.5-acre property (33165 PR 331) located near the Hoop and Holler bend in the Assiniboine River — about a 10-minute drive southeast of Portage la Prairie. The gate opens at 5 p.m., with about eight hours of music planned.
Roulette, who founded the Women of Mother Earth Network, and Omichinski recently walked to the four corners of the property and offered a gift of tobacco at each corner.
Roulette is also opening the folk festival at 6 p.m. with a blessing. This will be followed by a drum song and dancers.
"Our local Indigenous community is very large and has a lot to offer Portage la Prairie in the way of arts and culture, so including an Indigenous component at this year’s festival was a given," said festival co-organizer and promoter Josh Wright. "Since 2016 also happens to be the Year of Reconciliation, it is only right to be walking in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters to build bridges and foster a peaceful, loving community, and ultimately a united province and country."
Local Aboriginal singer-songwriter Lucien Spence and Eagle & Hawk from Winnipeg are among this year’s performers.
Roulette and other Women of Mother Earth Network members are also preparing and serving bannock and soup to about 130 performers and volunteers.
"We know how to serve up food," Roulette said, citing the annual Christmas Day dinner she organizes in Portage la Prairie as an example of the group’s work.
"If you have bannock in your stomach, you’ll go a long way," she said.
Roulette and Omichinski welcome the chance to work together to honour the Portage area’s Aboriginal roots.
"It’s been a natural flow of things," Roulette said. She’s looking forward to attending the folk festival for the first time.
Portage la Prairie’s Francophone heritage will also be recognized through Winnipeg’s Kelly Bado, a bilingual singer-songwriter-interpreter who was born in Ivory Coast, and Ego Spank’s drummer Daniel Roy’s French-language performances, Omichinski said.
Volunteers are still needed for the folk festival. Omichinski said she hopes that residents of Headingley, St. Francois Xavier, Elie and other communities to the west of Winnipeg will consider making the short drive to her property for the event.
"It’s really not far," she said.
She promises attendees a relaxing evening of live music, with the chance to explore the cottonwood grove and stroll through the labyrinth garden located on her property.
For information on the festival, to volunteer or order tickets, visit www.portagefolk.com
St. Vital community correspondent
Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital and was once the community journalist for The Headliner.