Riley Chervinski, Arts Columnist


I love festivals. Lucky for me, I live in a city that loves them too. Winnipeg has the Poutine Cup, ManyFest, Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival and Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, among others. Most of these events are squeezed into the few short months we call summer.

Thanks to my phone, I know a popular event this month was Le Burger Week. Burgers of all flavours and kinds flooded Instagram newsfeeds, and Facebook friends kept close tallies of the burger scores. The voting campaign for Nuburger’s John Stamos burger was arguably stronger and more effective than ones for the upcoming federal election.

Social media has come to play a strong part in Winnipeg’s festival scene. It has to be if coordinators want to reach the young audiences that love to attend their events. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing more convincing for a tired, broke student to go out one night than photographic evidence of all his friends having fun without him.

A quick scroll through Instagram shows over 6,000 posts of Le Burger Week, and another 4,500 for the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. That’s a ton of festival-goers sharing content, and they’re doing it for free.

Event organizers and sponsors need to recognize this trend and plan strategically. In a city where festivals dominate every other weekend, finding a way to get onto the Instagram feeds of the city’s trendiest hipsters should be on the minds of event coordinators everywhere.

And despite the frigid cold ahead, winter months don’t necessarily mean a break in festivities. Nuit Blanche Winnipeg brings us live blacksmithing demonstrations, murals and fire dancers this month.

Another popular celebration comes in February with Festival du Voyageur. That means social feeds smothered in cheesy photos of poutine, washed down with tweets about Caribou, the popular alcoholic drink at the week-long festival.

Fear not, young Winnipegger with an iPhone and trendy friends. You’ll have events to post about.

But don’t forget to peek out from behind your phone occasionally and enjoy the moment. Plus, the guy behind you probably wants to watch the concert without your Valencia filter blocking his view.


Riley Chervinski is a journalism student, soccer player and reader of cringe-worthy chick-lit. You can usually find her scrolling through Tumblr, scoping out recipe blogs or laughing at her own jokes @rileychervinski.