If you thought we take winter seriously in Manitoba, wait ’til you see us in summer. Winnipeg is one of the most consistently sunny cities in Canada (in July and August, our capital city has 60 out of 62 days with measurable sunshine) and we jam pack those sunny hours full of incredible summer festivals. In one summer, you can dance your folkin’ heart out at the famous Winnipeg Folk Festival or witness an epic viking battle at Islendingadagurinn (don’t worry, you can also call it the Icelandic Festival). Your weekends are about to book up fast. Here are 10 summer festivals you can’t miss in Manitoba…
Winnipeg Folk Fest 🎶 ⛺
July 7 to 10, 2016
Birds Hill Park
Often called the festival of the summer, The Winnipeg Folk Fest attracts tens of thousands every year. Bringing together emerging and well-established artists, the Winnipeg Folk Fest is at its core, a celebration of folk music, where you can set up camp for the entire festival (for families or those who prefer a full night’s rest, there are quiet campgrounds available) or just drop by for the day. Drum circles and fire dancers are all but common in this 4-day party where you can wander around barefoot, grab a bite to eat from a food truck, visit the famous trading post or catch a show. This year’s headliners include The Head and the Heart, The Paper Kites, Lord Huron and Andy Shauf. Trust us, it’s folkin’ awesome.
Red River Exhibition 🎡
June 17 to 26, 2016
Countless memories are made at the Red River Ex each year, and it has long been a staple of Manitoba summers. Go for the rides, stay for the food…or is it the other way around? The Red River Ex is jammed packed with rides for all ages, carnival games, a petting zoo and plenty of food vendors. What would summer be without at least one ride on the Polar Express? Find your thrill at the Red River Ex!
July 31 to August 13, 2016
Heralded as one of the best festivals in Winnipeg, Folklorama is the largest multicultural event of its kind in the world. Have you ever wanted to travel to Croatia? How about Ireland, Germany or the Caribbean? For 14 days in August, Folklorama offers just a small taste (but oh, such a good one) of cultures around the globe. Over 40 pavilions are scattered around the city in the two week period, and with incredible vibrancy, energy and delicacies – you will definitely want to fit in as many as possible!
Dauphin’s Countryfest 🎸
June 30 to July 3, 2016
Dauphin is a 4 hour road trip away from Winnipeg, and at certain times of the year, thousands make the trip up. Dauphin’s Countryfest is one of those occasions. Country-lovers from across the province and the country flock to Canada’s longest running country music festival. The festival gets 14,000 attendees per day and boasts over 4000 campsites. This year’s music lineup features headliners Lady Antebellum and Dean Brody. Don’t forget your cowboy hat (our summers are hot)!
Islendingadagurinn (Icelandic Fest) ⚔
July 29 to August 1, 2016
To get a taste of Icelandic culture as it once was, attend the 127th annual Islendingadagurinn, or Icelandic Festival of Manitoba. Catch a fashion show of traditional Icelandic garments, enjoy Icelandic horse demonstrations, watch reenactments of Viking weapon and warfare tactics, and last but not least, get “dinged”. It all happens in the gorgeous and quaint Gimli, Manitoba, located 1 hour north of Winnipeg. There will be Viking roars. And if you happen to have Icelandic roots, here are the Top 10 reasons an Icelander should attend Íslendingadagurinn.
Harvest Sun Festival 🌾 ☀️
August 19 to 21, 2016
Riding Mountain National Park is the ideal backdrop for the Harvest Sun Music Festival, a grass roots prairie festival dedicated to showcasing Canadian musicians. Taking place in Kelwood, Manitoba (2.5 hours west of Winnipeg), the Harvest Sun Festival has been gaining widespread popularity and is geared towards families with a strong community vibe. There is entertainment, activities and workshops for people of all ages.
Interstellar Rodeo 🐎 ✨
August 12 to 14, 2016
The Forks, Winnipeg
In its first year, Interstellar Rodeo went off with a bang and is quickly becoming a Winnipeg tradition. This year, music fans gather at the Historic Forks Site for an unforgettable evening of wine-and-music pairings from August 12 to 14. Take a seat and enjoy headliners such as Wilco, Serena Ryder, kd lang and Neko Case. Wines are collected from Winnipeg’s finest independent wine merchants while food vendors line up with unique gourmet delights and food truck favourites. It’s truly festival for all of the senses!
Fire & Water Music Festival
July 29 to 31, 2016
Lac du Bonnet
Heralded as Manitoba’s fastest growing music festival, Fire & Water is a family-friendly gathering where you will hear everything from roots to country to metal. See artists from Manitoba and beyond on three stages or take part in an artists workshop. There are trade shows, children’s programming and plenty of camping spaces so that you can enjoy the gorgeous Lac du Bonnet area, located 1 hour away from Winnipeg. Oh, and did we mention it also won this year’s Festival Madness competition?
Rainbow Trout Fest 🌈 🐟
August 19 to 21, 2016
Rainbow Trout Festival is an up-and-comer in the Manitoba indie festival scene and is run entirely by volunteers. Located on the banks of Rosseau River, south of St. Malo, the festival offers three days of music, camping, dancing and more. Think of it as a low-key folk fest, with genres like rock, electro, hip-hop, blues, jazz, folk, garage and really, everything in between.
Winnipeg Fringe Festival 🎭
July 13 to 24, 2016
Every summer, the streets of downtown Winnipeg come alive with the Fringe Festival! Characters from over 180 theatre companies roam the streets and perform for adventurous audiences. Shows take place daily from noon to midnight at more than 30 venues, covering every genre in the book (and a few that simply can’t be classified). Head to the Old Market Square in the Exchange District for live entertainment and activities for children/families, as well as shopping, refreshments and much more.
Know of a festival you want to see on our next list? Tell us about it in the comments!
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