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This article was published 29/7/2019 (203 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The sun was warm and the music was good as the 35th Brandon Folk, Music and Art Festival opened at Princess Park Saturday for the second year running.
Despite some organizational glitches (expensive porta-potties and late provincial funding) and a somewhat late start, the event appeared to be a success as music lovers gathered near the stage to listen to the artists.
"I think it’s very good, actually," Diane Denny said as she stretched out in her lawn chair, waiting for the next act to take the stage.
"It’s a lovely venue here," she said. "There’s lot of shade."
The fact there was no charge for admission — unlike previous years at the Keystone Centre — didn’t hurt, either.
"Free is always good, isn’t it?" Denny said with a smile.
In 2018, the festival moved from its usual venue at the Keystone Centre to Princess Park and, like this year, was only on for the one day. Before, it varied from two to three days.
The festival is put on with assistance from the provincial government and the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corp. (both are listed on the cover of the festival program, which was handed out by volunteers, donations gladly accepted). The programs also contained ads from Manitoba Public Insurance and the New System Store.
A visitor who gave her name only as Marg waited patiently at a picnic table for the next artist to perform.
"I think this is nice," said Marg, who had only just arrived. "There’s more trees and everything."
She added Princess Park is much handier for some people than the former venue at the Keystone Centre.
The artists, too, seemed to be having a good time.
"It’s a great location and a beautiful day," said Winnipeg singer-songwriter Mimi Vouk, one of 11 acts slated to perform at the festival, as she waited for her turn on the stage.
"I’m just open to whatever happens," said Vouk, 31, who had just returned to touring after leaving to raise her son. "It seems relaxing, and I like that."
Nearby, Olivier’s Bistro sold food and cold drinks under a small tent to keep out the sun, while on the other side of the stage, vendors under much bigger tents sold their wares, and visitors got henna tattoos or — in the case of the younger crowd — had their faces painted.
Spinning yarn from sheep’s wool at her table under the big tent just west of the stage, Lila McFarland of Generations Fibreworks said she’s spun her yarn here and at the Keystone Centre, and she likes being at Princess Park.
"It’s good in some ways," McFarland said.
The vendors are closer to the entertainment, she said, and that helps draw people over to check out the tables.
People attending the festival in the past paid good money to see the headlining acts, "and that’s what they would do," she said.
McFarland said she also likes the atmosphere at Princess Park.
"It’s a little more intimate here," she said. "It’s got its advantages."
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