- Manitoba's Winter Folk Festival - 2013-2017 -
Melting the Winter Blues since 2013.
"Welcome winter, embrace eclectic, love life."
The festival provides an uplifting winter reprieve at a cost affordable to all, and shares the joy of music, song, and dance with people of all ages and cultures in a welcoming, free-spirited environment. Thaw that freeze-dried couch potato in you and come have a great time, snow or shine - be a free spirit!
WE REACH OUT FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Aside from giving back to our community through music and supporting our local musicians, Portage la Prairie Folk Festival Association also helps out our festival venue, Trinity United Church, which does tremendous work in our community. The church is a part of the larger, charitable organization, The United Church of Canada, which reaches out to people across Canada and in other parts of the globe. With the purchase of your ticket, you are not only treated to an awesome folk fest experience, but also the reward of being able to help other philanthropic organizations in need of community support.
Our sponsored ticket program allows people in our community who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford admission to attend the festival. Generous donors who sponsor tickets allow organizations like Canadian Mental Health Association, Prairie Welcome House, and Eagles Fire Youth Centre to give tickets to members of their communities, bringing smiles and warming hearts of individuals in need, one ticket at a time.
At a local level, Trinity United Church supports the work of the Portage la Prairie Soup Kitchen, Food Bank, Family Violence Prevention Centre, Habitat for Humanity, Lions Eye Bank and Friendship Centre. The church offers children's music and education programs; an open, accepting, and tolerant place to celebrate meaningful relevant worship that welcomes, inspires, and challenges people of all beliefs and cultures; as well as support and encouragement programs aimed to help people who are struggling through grief, loss and other difficulties. Trinity United Church also provides a youth group, various outreach activities and fundraisers in Portage la Prairie, and a monthly social program for mentally challenged adults of Portage and the surrounding community.
Recently, Trinity United Church has supported the Portage and Area Refugee Coalition in bringing two Syrian families to Portage la Prairie and assisting with their transition into our city, province, and country. The church is a role model for Indigenous reconciliation in our community and beyond; and the rights of all peoples, including members of the LGBTTQ* community, through the work of its affirming group (the church walked in solidarity during Portage's inaugural Pride March last August). Trinity's sanctuary has been offered to religious minorities in our community who are currently without a safe space to practice worship.
The church maintains and offers its building to musical and theatrical performances, weddings and funerals, and various community organizations. Some of the groups that have used, and continue to use, the church to carry out their activities include Portage Ukrainian Nursery School, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Alanon, Girl Guides, Grandmothers to Grandmothers, Tupper St. Family Resource Centre, Sources of Strength, Central Manitoba Youth Choir, Koats for Kids, Alzheimer’s Society, Prairie Sound, and Women of Mother Earth Network.
By attending Hot Blizzard Folk Festival, you are supporting many great things!
TRAVEL GREEN AND KEEP OUR VENUE CLEAN
As with many other folk festivals, ours realizes that a festival dedicated to the people is a festival dedicated to sustainability and the environment in which we live. Although Hot Blizzard Folk Festival takes place indoors, vehicular transportation that results in CO2 emissions is necessary for many folkies to attend. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint to get here:
The Hot Blizzard Hippie Bus, which shuttles passengers between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, is a great alternative to multiple vehicles having to make the trip out to folk fest (and an awesome way to escape the city on a mid-winter day).
Carpooling from rural locations or other communities outside of Portage is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
If you live right in Portage, weather permitting, walk or bicycle to the festival and save the parking spots for those who live out of town.
At the festival, please keep the venue tidy by recycling or disposing of garbage after eating or drinking. We'd also kindly ask that you clean up after yourself and be sure to take all your belongings home with you after you leave the festival. The venue is a church so please be mindful of leaving the building the way it was before the festival commenced. "Leave No Trace."
Because Trinity United Church is an unlicensed public building, it is illegal to consume alcohol on the premises. Being an alcohol-free folk festival also helps the Hot Blizzard Folk Fest to create a welcoming environment for families with children and people in recovery who might otherwise find it hard to hear good music since so often music is shared in a licensed environment. We ask for your cooperation in respecting our family-friendly environment and helping to keep the folk fest an alcohol-free event.
HOT BLIZZARD TAKES PLACE IN A CHURCH. DO I NEED TO DRESS OR ACT A CERTAIN WAY?
Other than being appropriate and respectful as the festival's venue is a church, absolutely not! Just because the folk festival takes place inside a church does not mean you need to comply to any dress code or conform to any set of guidelines. All are welcome; at Hot Blizzard, there is no discrimination, no judgement, and no religion - rather, there is peace, love, diversity, inclusion, and joy!
Trinity United Church is an open and tolerant space, and remember, for the duration of the event, you're at a folk fest and not at church or a formal concert! Come as you are and simply be yourself - attend Hot Blizzard like you would Winnipeg Folk Festival - folkies are folkies, people are people! Inside the church; the acoustics are great, there is ample space for seating and dancing, and the cathedral-style sanctuary has a warm atmosphere and inviting ambience. The beautiful, intricate building was erected in 1897 and turns 120 this year!
Feel free to come and go from the festival as you please, walk around the inside or outside of the building, socialize in designated areas*** while the music is playing, meditate, dance, have a picnic, whatever - just be comfortable. The festival atmosphere can be described by just two words - laid back! We hope you enjoy the festival and leave with valuable memories after your mid-winter folk fest experience!
Also, for your comfort, please feel free to bring your favourite cushion or blanket to sit on as the pews in the church sanctuary are made of solid, hard wood. Younger (or able-bodied) folkies are of course welcome to sit on the floor as long as the traffic corridors (aisles) remain unobstructed.
*** Although folk festivals are very free-spirited, please remember to be considerate of folk fest etiquette and try to socialize away from the stage and/or engaged audience members while the music is playing. The back of the sanctuary, narthex (lobby), lower refreshment hall, artistic hangout, and downstairs family room (equipped with speaker and loungers) are all fantastic places to hang out during the performances!
ADDITIONAL INFO YOU SHOULD 'KNOW BEFORE YOU GO'
1) The festival is disability-friendly, equipped with an elevator and ground-level access to the venue at the Tupper Street entrance. Handicapped parking is available along the south side of the building.
2) Parking is available free-of-charge in the Trinity United Church north, south, and west parking lots; Austin Credit Union (now Stride Credit Union) and Bank of Montreal parking lots; and downtown parking lots at Heritage Square situated east of Royal Road North. Parallel parking on downtown side streets is also an option, but please be mindful of the parking metres!
3) The festival is CASH & CHEQUE ONLY. ATM service is available across the street at the Stride Credit Union bank (formerly Austin Credit Union).
4) The Icy Heat Snack Retreat will be open from 1:50-7:15 pm in the lower hall of the venue. There will be some tasty treats, home-style chili (served beginning at 2:45), and warm beverages available for purchase. Festival goers are welcome to bring along a picnic lunch/supper to eat during the festival - yes, you can picnic indoors! Also, a number of great restaurants are located within walking distance of the festival venue. You are invited to come and go from the event as you please, and come back to the festival at anytime - or, stay for the entire festival, of course!
5) Bring an instrument for the Open Circle Fun Jam, a public jam session, happening following the main festival program at 7:30 pm. If you are planning on taking the Hot Blizzard Hippie Bus from Winnipeg, bring along your instrument for a "kitchen party on wheels!" Shuttle riders must sign up here by February 1st (this Wednesday).
6) Support our local artists by checking out the local Handmade Village, and making a stop at the musician merchandise/CD table! Seema Chouhan's Blessings Collection will be offering giftware, clothing, jewelry, furnishings, and trinkets from India, and also henna tattoos! Gabriele Neuschwander will be offering all sorts of pottery, among other handmade creations. The musicians will be selling a variety of cool merchandise as well.
7) Families can enjoy the nursery downstairs (Family Lounge); and anyone is welcome to hang out in the downstairs Chill Zone / Badger's Burrow, a place for visual art, jamming, and relaxing!