The 28th annual Brandon Folk, Music and Art Festival was in full swing Friday Night, including performances by Great Lake Swimmers, Jess Hill and Nathan.
Shandra MacNeill, director of the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Society, said the event has come together extremely well, thanks to the 130 people who volunteered.
“Advanced tickets have increased by 30 per cent over the three previous years and there are more people camping as well,” MacNeill said.
Garett Beatty drove down from Ditch Lake to take in his third folk fest, but this is the first time he camped out for the weekend.
“I’m going to be like a zombie by the end of this weekend, but I am really looking forward to the jam sessions that will be going on at the campgrounds late at night,” Beatty said.
“This is a really good festival — it has a great vibe.”
This is the third time Janine Gibson travelled from Steinbach for the folk fest.
“The people are wonderful, as is the music. I really love how it’s under the trees in the park — it feels like you’re out in the country,” Gibson said.
“I also like that it’s a small festival. The Winnipeg Folk Festival is beautiful, but there are so many people and the Brandon Folk Festival focuses more on local talent.”
MacNeill said that the Brandon folk festival has always emphasized local talent.
“I think it’s really important to have a good balance of local talent, as well as talent that is not local but performing at a high level. I really like to see the local people performing in our emerging artist program, mixing and playing with the acts that we’ve brought in,” MacNeill said.
At noon today, Great Lake Swimmers are playing with Sebastian Owl from the emerging artist program in a band mash-up, with instrumental backup provided by the Dead Stringers.
Michelle Hay sat in a booth with her daughter and sold official T-shirts for the festival. She has been a part of the festival for six years, but has come to the event for around 10 years.
“I really look forward to this weekend. I love sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the music,” Hay said.
Judy Bartel of Brandon has come to the festival for about 20 years.
“I enjoy the music, and it’s a really good place to meet people from all different groups and walks of life,” Bartel said.
MacNeill said the more artists that are brought into the community, the better off Brandon is.
“Communities need to celebrate together, this is an important community activity. It gives the opportunity to gather and to have a good time away from other stresses in their lives,” MacNeill said. “Everyone can access the festival because if you don’t have the money you can volunteer to get a pass. There are also a lot of workshop opportunities, so if someone wants to become a performer they can get in on this at any level.”
For more information on the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Festival, go to www.brandonfolkfestival.ca
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 21, 2012