RRC Polytech graduates find a sense of community at the Winnipeg Folk Festival

By: Joshua Lakatos

Brittany May, 34, has been working for the Winnipeg Folk Festival for seven years, but to her, it is more than just a job.

“The festival embodies the world that we want to see. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are wearing; people are just allowed to exist; that transitions to the staff side as well,” said May.

May said her coworkers are more than coworkers, “I consider them my friends.”

May graduated from the Creative Communications program at RRC Polytech in April of 2012, and is now working as the Winnipeg Folk Festival marketing & communications coordinator.

May credits Creative Communications for the skills she developed in time management, leadership, and teamwork, all of which have helped her succeed in her role at Folk Fest.

Planning for the festival is constant even though it only happens four days a year.

“We create a city in the forest for four days,” said May.

Brittany May, RRC Polytech graduate and Winnipeg Folk Festival’s marketing & communications coordinator.
(Supplied photo)

May said the only downtime she has with planning for a festival is between August and September. After that, she is back to planning for 2025’s Folk Fest.

This year’s Winnipeg Folk Festival lineup includes a variety of artists for diverse groups of people. Some of the performers are Noah Cyrus, and the three time Grammy Award-winning artist Killer Mike, who is one half of the 90’s rap group Run The Jewels.

“Folk music at its core is cultural storytelling,” said May. “All of the artists that are chosen for the line-up are chosen with purpose for this festival.”

Winnipeg Folk Festival heavily relies on volunteer support as a non-profit organization. Last year’s festival had roughly 2,400 volunteers, said May.

Volunteers provide campground, communications, and audience support, as well as performer service and festival production. All volunteers get perks like free admission, parking, and food.

Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Bur Oak stage. (Supplied photo)

Former Business Administration and Computer Accounting Technician graduate, Abeth Encarnacion, 38, has volunteered at the Winnipeg Folk Festival for 15 years.

“I volunteer because I love the community, and I love being in service to the people on the campground,” said Encarnacion.

The Winnipeg Folk Festival will take place from July 11 to July 14 at Birds Hill Provincial Park.