Festival du Voyageur 2022 gets creative with new hybrid program and new live performance model

By: Kiana Crouse

Festival du Voyageur, an annual festival that usually runs until late in the evening, has cut its schedule short and removed the famous performance tents from the festival grounds. The team at Festival implemented a hybrid program this year focusing on virtual and in-person shows happening at the larger CCFM venue in St. Boniface. 

The team brought on the new hybrid program to accommodate people who can’t attend the event while still offering in-person events and activities for those who can, according to Chantal Vielfaure, director of marketing, communications and sales.

“We’re so happy to be able to offer something to people and to get that vibe of getting together again and seeing each other at Voyageur Park,” said Vielfaure.

Vielfaure said the team had to take a chance and remove the tents to create a safer Festival experience. Instead of the traditional blue and red striped tents, she said they decided to get creative with their alternative.

La Boîtes à Chansons, or music box, is a 20-foot-long truck with a ten-foot window where musicians can perform warmly and safely. There are speakers attached to the outside of the box so attendants can hear the music.

“It’s going to be something that the market in Manitoba has never done. It’s really exciting,” said Vielfaure.

Festival du Voyageur 2022 banner photo, with logo artwork by Jordan Stranger./FESTIVAL DU VOYAGEUR

Festival musician Véronique Demers said she has mixed feelings about this change, but she is excited to mingle with musicians and play for live crowds again.

“The tents are a quintessential part of what makes up the atmosphere at Festival,” said Demers. “I think it’s really unfortunate that we won’t have that this year, but I think it’s a responsible choice.”

Along with the removal of the Voyageur Park’s live performance tents, this year’s performances will end at 6 p.m. instead of the usual 11 p.m. 

Festival musician Kyle Burghout said he’s glad they’ve updated their closing hours because he feels the core of Festival, which supports traditional music and culture, was missing in previous years.

“I think this year, it’s really gone back to its roots with the music programming,” said Burghout, “It’s really focusing heavily on traditional music which is what I think Festival should be all about.”

Vielfaure says the team is excited despite not being able to provide the whole Festival experience they were hoping for.

Those interested in attending can see the complete program list on the Festival du Voyageur website.