Local music festival to test outdoor venue
BRITTANY HOBSON, ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR @bhobs22
The local winter music festival Big Fun is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month — something the team behind the indie music festival never imagined.
“When we started we never really expected to make it this far, we never really expected to have this much of a following,” said Stefan Braun, artistic director of Big Fun. “It baffles me that people are interested and, to be honest, people still care about it. Sometimes you just feel like you’re doing something and it loses steam after a while.”
But the steam keeps coming, even in -30 C weather.
After four years of putting on concerts at indoor venues, Braun said he’s looking forward to Big Fun’s first outdoor concert.
“The most exciting thing we have going this year is the fact that we have a venue on the middle of the river,” said Braun. “When I think about it, it’s the most Winnipeg experience that you could possibly have just seeing a bunch of weird rock ‘n’ roll bands in the middle of a frozen river.”
Big Fun is teaming up with pop up restaurant RAW: almond to put on three nightly concerts in the pop up restaurant’s space on the river, but with recent warm temperatures the venue had to be moved to land.
Thomas Beever attended Big Fun for the first time last year. He said he’s looking forward to the Saturday night concert featuring local DJ duo House of Gold Diamonds, Montreal act Mozarts Sister and Toronto act Joanne Pollock. Aside from the music, Beever said Big Fun is about the experience and energy.
“I’m a huge fan of festivals that require you to jump from venue to venue,” he said. “It adds a change of scenery to your night. Timing buses and rushing to different places is a kind of thrill for me.”
Big Fun started after Braun and friends were looking to put on an event in the community and saw an opportunity to host a winter music festival. Looking to create something as eclectic as Winnipeg’s music scene, the team created a weekend-long event that jumps to different venues across The Peg. This year, it runs from Jan. 27 to 31.
“What we try to do is bring certain groups together or create a space where anything can be heard,” said Braun. “[We] try to give them a unique experience regardless of it’s a weird venue or if it’s a different band or if it’s just something strange all around.”
The festival hit a milestone this year with 50 bands featured over the weekend, including local and out-of-town bands.
So what are the founders hoping for the next five years?
“Bigger, better and more exciting is basically what we are looking,” said Braun.