2010 Winnipeg Folk Festival Wrap-Up and Photo Gallery

Filed under: Festivals

Dozens of acts, tens of thousands of festivalgoers, and countless hours of great music helped make the 37th Annual Winnipeg Folk Festival a memorable five days. The weather held up for the most part, while the music certainly did.

I'm going to be honest here... when organizers first announced the complete Folk Fest line-up for 2010 and I perused the list, I wasn't overly excited. Sure, there were acts that I enjoyed listening to and would want to see live, but there weren't any names that personally jumped out at me as "must-sees", especially compared to previous years' line-ups. That's the thing about Folk Festivals, though: you may not know a lot of the acts going in, but you're certain to be surprised by quite a few of them.

And so with the festival now wrapped up, I can look back and say it was the best Winnipeg Folk Festival I've ever attended. There were bands and artists I had never heard of that ended up blowing me away, and others I thought I'd kind of enjoy that I absolutely loved. And the one artist I was looking forward to seeing coming into the festival, Gregory Alan Isakov, didn't disappoint, either. Besides the music being off-the-charts, the rest of the festival experience (like the food and the people) was just as good.

Before we get to the photo gallery, here are my personal highlights from this year's festival (yes, there's a lot of them). If you happened to be at the festival yourself, you likely have your own favourites, so leave a comment below to fill us in on what made the festival great for you!

  • The Cat Empire getting the crowd going (and even up on their feet at the end) on the main stage on Saturday night
  • Arrested Development keeping the crowd on their feet for pretty much their entire Saturday night main stage set
  • The Sunday solo set by The Cat Empire's Harry Angus at Big Blue, which was a lot more chill than most of the crowd was expecting but still superb [interview with Harry Angus to come]
  • The Swell Season captivating the crowd with beautiful melodies and harmonies -- both at their Friday night main stage show and their Saturday workshop
  • California indie rock band The Dodos, not used the Folk Festival experience at all, but still putting on a great Sunday night closing set at Big Blue @ Night that even got most of the lazy and loungin' Sunday evening crowd up and dancing by the end [interview with The Dodos to come]
  • Boulder, CO-based singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov leading a great workshop Sunday afternoon with Hot Tuna and The Pines [interview with Gregory Alan Isakov to come]
  • The surprise tweener set on Sunday by Brad Roberts and Ellen Reid of the Crash Test Dummies, playing a cover tune and a couple of originals, including "Superman's Song"
  • The simultaneous Friday night dance-fests, with Australia's Oka at Big Blue @ Night and Scotland's The Peatbog Fairies on the main stage (both bands, along with Delhi 2 Dublin, also had their own killer workshop/jamfest on Friday afternoon at Green Ash)
  • Canadian folk favourite, Sarah Harmer, playing the second-to-last main stage of the festival Sunday night and captivating the crowd [interview with Sarah Harmer to come]
  • Legendary bluesman Sonny Landreth on the Friday main stage, showing us all why we shouldn't even bother picking up the guitar (he's that good)
  • Pretty much all of the amazing daytime workshops, the highlights being the 2 mentioned above, plus the local-themed Sunday workshop featuring John K. Samson (who was everywhere this festival, both solo and with The Weakerthans), Del Barber, Greg MacPherson, Romi Mayes, Jay Nowicki, Trio Bembe, The Duhks, and The Wailin' Jennys -- they all know each other, and they loved playing together [interviews with Leonard of The Duhks and Greg MacPherson to come]
  • And for those volunteers and media lucky enough to attend the after-party, The Cat Empire playing a 1am show at Shady Grove that probably ranks as one of the Top 3 personal concert experiences of my life

Be sure to keep checking in with ShowbizMonkeys.com over the next little while, as we start posting our interviews from this year's festival. And we'll see you all at the 2011 festival!

Tags: Winnipeg Folk Festival, folk, The Dodos, Sarah Harmer, Harry Angus, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Duhks, The Wailin' Jennys, Greg MacPherson, The Cat Empire

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found putting on and promoting music and comedy events with The Purple Room in Winnipeg, or co-producing the live comedy game shows Pants on Fire and The Great Patio Showdown. (@comedygeek)

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