Arts & Culture

Fresh to the festival

Setting the stage for newcomers

You could be missing out on your new favourite band if you don’t go to local summer music festivals, ac-cording to Paul Nolin, the executive producer for Jazz Winnipeg.

“I like to think that we present a lot of great music that won’t otherwise be heard by the community at other times of year,” said Nolin. “Every year, I do my best to put together a line up that is exciting and has artistic integrity.”

This year’s lineup includes artists like Esperanza Spalding, Buddy Guy and Charles Bradley.

But, for festival newcomers, choosing from the wide range of festivals in Manitoba can be overwhelming. Should I go to Folk Fest or Jazz Fest? What should I bring? What should I wear? Lucky for you, we’ve got the inside scoop on these outdoor concerts.

Step 1: Get to know the festival

“I will listen to the artists and plan a schedule of who I want to see and when, in case there is overlap,” said Neila Carmichael, 25, who has been attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival for over a decade.

Many festivals have shows that over¬lap with one another and research is the best way to avoid colossal disappointments. Jazz Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Folklorama, Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival and MEMETIC all have websites that provide useful information like prices, venue information, tips and lineups.

Step 2: Bring proper survival tools

Always check the weather. There is nothing worse than being caught outside in a downpour or without that SPF 50.

“Bring summer essentials, lots of water and tons of sunscreen for us pasties,” said Carmichael. “Also, wear fun clothing. Make a Value Village trip. You always want to look good, stand out and be an individual, but it’s also about comfort and function¬ality.”

Step 3: Stay connected

The Winnipeg Folk Festival and Jazz Winnipeg both have an app that gives users maps, schedule informa¬tion, artist information and many more useful tools. This is perfect for those looking for information on the go.

And for last minute changes, these festivals have a live Twitter feed going throughout the festival to pro-vide up-to-date information.

Step 4: Embrace the unknown

“I think it’s a simple matter of approaching the festival with an open mind, a spirit of adventure and a willingness to discover and experience new music,” said Nolin. “The Jazz Festival offers music fans a unique opportunity to do this right in our own downtown.”

For those not quite ready to make the commitment, check out all the free stuff other festivals put on in Old Market Square — perfect for those not willing to shell out some cash for their live tunes.