It’s Time to Join the Crowds at Eastman’s Hottest Music Festivals

No matter the genre, our province is chalked full of some of the most exciting, heartfelt, toe-tapping, get out of your seats and dance music you will ever hear. From Juno winners whose names you may recognize to bands who you’ve never heard of before, Manitoba has been well known for producing some of Canada’s most famous music since the early 1960’s.

The Guess Who, Neil Young, Tom Cochrane, Harlequin, the Crash Test Dummies, Chantal Kreviazuk, The Weakerthans, Doc Walker and so many more made their start playing in small clubs and music festivals in our province.

Unless you are an avid independent music lover or frequent the local clubs and festivals, there is also a long list of amazingly talented artists whose name you just don’t know. William Prince, Sweet Alibi, Patrick Alexandre Leclerc, Dustin Harder & The Dusty Roads Band, Richard Inmann, and so many more. And the only way to connect with their music is to get to know them at some of the music festivals happening this summer!

This weekend, Eastern Manitoba is host to one of the provinces largest music festivals, The Winnipeg Folk Fest, kicking off a summer full of great festivals to check out, and incredible talent to get to know.

5 Reasons to Join the Crowd

#5 The Experience is Unforgettable. There is no better way to describe a music festival, other than to say, you just have to get out there and experience it for yourself. The music, the crowds, the good vibes — they are all infectious. From the moment you walk through the festival gates, to the very last performance, you’ll be laughing and dancing, singing along and having a great time.  

#4 The Community of People. Contrary to what you may think, the majority of people who attend music festivals are amazingly friendly and outgoing. I never thought it possible, but I have made countless friends from around the world by visiting the numerous music festivals in Eastern Manitoba. I’ve connected with artists, stagehands, volunteers, and even future business partners by sharing my love of music.

#3 Lasting Memories are Created. You never really know what’s going to happen at a live performance and being part of the crowd as new music legends make their debut performance or having a chance meeting with those considered music icons is remarkable.

#2 The Music is Outstanding. The most spectacular thing about independent artists is that they are absolutely outstanding live! I even go as far as saying that seeing these artists on the stage is much better than listening to their recorded albums and videos. There’s nothing quite like feeling the music as the thumping of the drums beats in your chest, the bass guitar floods through your entire body, and the vocals carry your thoughts away in stories.

#1 You are Never too Old to Be Apart of the Crowd. Having been introduced to the music festival scene well into my thirties, I can attest to this fact. Shed the thought that music festivals are only for the younger generations because they aren’t. I have been surrounded by people from Generation Z to Baby Boomers at all the festivals I have attended. 

A Summer Full of Eastern Manitoba Music Festivals

Winnipeg Folk Fest: July 5 to 7 – Birds Hill 

Don't let the name fool you, The Winnipeg Folk Fest is one of Eastern Manitoba's hottest summer events! This internationally acclaimed celebration of people and music features over 60 acts, six daytime stages, evening main stage, family area, artisan tent and food court. The 2018 lineup includes Sheryl Crow, Bahamas, courtney barnett, The Strumbellas, Elle King, Passenger, John Butler Trio, Natalie MacMaster, A Tribe Called Red, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Whitney, Rhye, Julien Baker & more! 

Summer Winds Family Music Festival: July 20 to 21 – Victoria Beach


Now in its thirteenth year, the Summer Winds Family Music Festival is held at the Victoria Beach Sports Field on Highway 59, Victoria Beach, Manitoba. Offering great entertainment and fun activities that are affordable, family-friendly, multicultural music covering many genres and age groups. From reggae to alternative, to country, to rock, we bring to life the songs from your personal playlists, as well as support emerging artists and their original music. And all this happens in a relaxed and natural outdoor setting located just over an hour north of Winnipeg among some of Canada’s best beaches. The 2018 lineup features Four Mile Road, Dust Rhinos, Busch Stones and the Lucky, Juke Box Heroes and more!

Sundial Music Festival: July 20 – Pinawa

Entering the festival scene this year, the Sundial Music Festival is starting off small and intimate, so if you're taking our advice and entering the world of music festivals, this would be a great one for you to test the water in. While it may be short and sweet, the lineup packs a lot of punch! Featuring Dan Frechette & Laurel Thomsen, The Deeds, Odder than Otters, and Amadians.

Howl at the Moon: July 27 to 28 – Beaconia

Join us under the Buck moon for two jam-packed days of some of the best country music around. Howl at the Moon Music Festival is a great way to spend a mid-summer Manitoba weekend with friends. Spend the days taking in all of the new music the festival has to offer, kicking back at your campsite or exploring the area. The annual Howl at the Moon music festival features country artists from all over Canada. Canadian stars Brett Kissel and Aaron Pritchett are set to headline this second annual event but you'll also be entertained by the rest of the 2018 lineup featuring Greg Arcade, Skylar Bouchard, Julie Ferguson, Waylon's Wing and so many more!

Fire & Water Music Festival: August 3 to 5 – Lac du Bonnet

Winner of the 2017 Travel Manitoba Event of the Year, Fire & Water Music Festival is Manitoba’s fastest growing, family-friendly, summer festival featuring the best Manitoba has to offer in Music and Arts. Once a year, we celebrate musicians, visual artists, sideshow performers, dancers and artisans alike. Fire & Water offers four stages of music featuring independent Manitoba musicians; playing everything from Roots Country to Hard Rock, artist workshops, children’s programming and activities that is fun for all ages and so much more. The 2018 lineup features My Son of the Hurricane, Matt Epp, Andrew Scott, Echo Nebraska, Skylar Bouchard, Micah Erenberg, Paul McIntosh, and so many more!

Bankside Music Festival: August 11 – Letellier

Bankside Music Festival, located near Letellier, Mb, is a new event taking place on a treed lot alongside the Red River. This annual event features some of Manitoba's top hard rock acts as well as musicians from the surrounding area. The 2018 lineup features Burning Porcelain, Wreckin' So, Dark Mourning, Whiskey Talks, and more!

Rainbow Trout Music Festival: August 17 to 19 – St. Malo

One of the coolest summer indie music festivals that Manitoba has to offer, Rainbow Trout Music Festival is three days of music, camping, good friends, bonfires, dancing, swimming, and so much more.   It's also 100% volunteer driven and dedicated to promoting local music and arts. RTMF showcases the high level of quality that exists in local music of all genres.  Its unique programming inspires audiences and challenges the listener.  Rock, electro, hip-hop, blues, jazz, folk, garage, funk, reggae, just to name a few. The 2018 lineup features Black Cloud, Ghost Twin, Odd Outfits, Pastoralia, Anemone, Smoky Tiger, Lake and Pine and so many more!

Eastern Artists to Watch for

Not only do our rich prairie soils provide some of the best outdoor music festival locations, they have helped grow and nurture some amazing artists. 

Cohen Sieg

A 17-year-old singer/songwriter and musician from Sieg's Corner, Manitoba, Cohen Sieg has been writing and performing for the past seven years at festivals and open mics all across Canada. His musical style is pop/folk but if you've been lucky enough to catch him live, you'll know that he plays a variety of country, rock, and blues as well. This multitalented musician plays the guitar, piano, drums, mandolin, ukelele, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, harmonica, banjo accordion and an assortment of percussion instruments.

What we love about Cohen is how his depth and passion for music plays out in every song, from his first released solo recording "Goodbye" to his covers of Stitches, She's Like the Wind and Shape of You, he brings the music alive. Rumored to be releasing his first album soon, Cohen is a definite must see. You'll have to get yourself down to one of our local music festivals (hint: he'll be at Fire and Water this August Long) to see this music legend in the making. 

Wreckin' So

This Rock/Metal/Blue/Country band has been breaking a new trail in the music industry like never seen before. They are taking the music scene by storm and inviting everyone to come along with them. Wreckin' So produces a sound that is beyond unique – it's downright infectious. The raw, raunchy voice of lead singer Brent Alaire, coupled Ronnie Ladobruk's insane shredding, the exploding talents of Clint Chaboyer on drums and the defining bassline provided by Claude Deveau, is guaranteed to get you up and out of your seat. You'll love their originals such as "The Merchant, The Sailor and the Bride to be" and "Still Smokin" and their metal infused renditions of your favourites such as "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers and  "Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers will blow your minds.

Not only do these guys put on the best live show, they also play some pretty unique homemade instruments, the Diddley Bo carved out of a barn door and an electric guitar made with a hubcap from the legendary 1964 Ford Meteor. Wreckin' So is one band you just can't miss this summer (they'll be playing at the Bankside Festival August 11th, or you can catch them in Pinawa during Lundmania on July 21st). 

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

Meeting via a chance YouTube sighting and fueled by a once-in-a-lifetime musical chemistry and friendship, Canadian-American Roots-Folk duo Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen are instantly memorable and magnetically appealing. Beyond the synchronicity of their meeting, Dan and Laurel’s backgrounds and musical palates are a surprising, uncanny, and perfect match. Fans have noted a sense that one is witnessing an output of color, creativity, and artistry far more textured and rich than merely the sum of its parts. Though each artist had a drastically different style of musical training and were the result of different musical backgrounds, their equal dedication, experience, and the ways in which each inspires the other to grow and evolve musically, make Dan and Laurel a dynamic and unstoppable team.

Dan Frechette, Canadian entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, gifted impressionist, and prolific singer-songwriter, hailing from Pinawa. He is a musical force that can only be matched by the lovely vocals, and rich, expressive violin tones produced by the charismatic Laurel Thomsen. With just one listen, we know you will fall in love with, "The Mists of Down Below", "Glory in My Soul", "Puddles in the Rain", and of course the duo themselves. They don't get through Manitoba all too often, so don't miss your chance to see them live at The Sundial Music Festival, happing in Pinawa on July 20.

Music plays a vibrant part in our culture. It is an expressive language that often tells a story, expresses emotion, and shares ideas. It is something that we can all relate to, something that we often include in our everyday lives. No matter our mood, there is always a song that tells our story. This summer, we invite you to join us in Eastern Manitoba to discover a whole new world and music.

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