The highly anticipated 48th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival kicked off on July 6th with an evening jam-packed with fantastic music. Despite a delay by a passing thunderstorm that put the two evening stages on hold for an hour, the audience held tight for the festival they’ve been looking forward to all year. Hidden Beats was at the festival all four days and we’ve got some fantastic photos for you to enjoy.


Big Blue at Night

One of the many afternoon workshop stages, Big Blue, turns into the second evening stage as Big Blue at Night. This stage focuses more on electronic and experimental party music and is always a great place to come dance. Opening the evening at Big Blue was the Low Down Brass band from Chicago. Their set was preempted by the thunderstorm and a brief power outage. Although their set was short, they were around all weekend and became a fan favourite throughout the festival. Following them was Khanvict, a DJ from Vancouver that blended electronics with Indian drumming. Closing out Big Blue was Halifax party-rocker Rich Aucoin. Powered by an unstoppable party energy, Aucoin no only kept the audience moving through the entire set, but he also single-handedly keeps the confetti canon industry running.


Main Stage

This year’s festival was an opportunity for the producers to present their new stage to the festival audience. Towering over the main stage field, the new stage further distanced the audience from the artists while simultaneously drawing them in with huge video screen and improved lighting production. The main stage kicked off with a welcome from Grandmother Chickadee Richard and two welcome songs from the Lavalee School singers and drummers. The first artist to take the main stage was local singer-songwriter and audience favourite William Prince. Prince has had a meteoric rise over the past few years and opening this year’s festival was a great way to celebrate his success. Unfortunately, he only got through five songs before his set was cut short by the impending thunderstorm. Apparently, to restart the stage, there needs to be no lightning strikes for 20 minutes within 8km of the festival site. Who knew??


Despite Prince not being able to finish his set, when the main stage restarted, Scottish singer KT Tunstall took the stage to rousing cheers from the audience. Building on the release of her latest album, Nut, Tunstall filled the enormous stage and the festival field with her fantastic music. Closing out the main stage on Thursday was the highly anticipated set by Fleet Foxes from Seattle, Washington. The Grammy nominated band released their latest album in 2020, their most highly acclaimed release since their debut.


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