Day two of the 2023 Winnipeg Folk Festival kicked off at 11:00am with a full afternoon of workshops and concerts across the festivals seven daytime stages. The afternoon temperature was strangely cool making the stages much easier to enjoy. Hidden Beats was onsite all day check out some of the great music.
We started off the afternoon at Bur Oak stage for the Fiddle & Bits workshop which featured string trio Genticorum, local klezmer group Finjan, and fiddle trio Shane Cook and the Woodchippers. Finjan is a longtime attendee at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, having first played 40 years ago at the festival in 1983. At the same time, US National fiddle champion Shane Cook was making his first appearance at the festival. On our way to check out upstart singer-songwriter Georgia Harmer (niece of Canadian legend Sarah Harmer), we stopped to check out local duo Fire and Smoke at the Little Stage in the Forest. Both artists brought the spirit of the folk festival to the intimate forest stages.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival was a rare performance with Rufus Wainwright, his sister Lucy Wainwright-Roche, and their legendary father Loudon Wainwright III. Performing both individually and as a group, they showed the obvious fun of being part of a musical family. Later in the afternoon brought two fantastic performances with concerts by Juno nominated, and recently Polaris Prize short-listed signer Aysanabee at Big Blue stage and longtime local favourites Whitehorse at Bur Oak stage.
Following an afternoon fantastic music, Big Blue at Night kicked off with Canadian singer Witch Prophet. Blending jazz, hiphop, soul, and R&B, the Polaris Prize-nominated singer was playing tracks from her latest album Getaway Experience. Main stage scheduling made up miss Black Belt Eagle Scout and Ko Shin Moon, but we were back at Big Blue to check out the closer, DJ duo Panda Bear & Sonic Boom.
Opening up the Friday night main stage was South Carolinian singer Adia Victoria who’s music blends blues with southern country. Following a tweener by Toronto’s Julian Taylor, Fruit Bats took the stage to huge audience applause. Having previously had to cancel appearances at the festival, the audience was thrilled to see them on the main stage. The sweet sounds of Icelandic singer Arny Margret was the perfect tweener before the incomparable Rufus Wainwright took the stage. Wainwright is a Canadian icon and was join on stage by his equally iconic father Loudon Wainwright III. Closing out the main stage was the legendary American singer Emmylou Harris. The 14-time Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee was many peoples festival highlight, though her set was unfortunately overs-haddowed by the oppressively loud music bleeding in from the Big Blue at Night stage.