Entertainment Local

Local folk festival heads in new direction

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

2017 Whoop and Hollar Folk Fest. (Dennis Wiens photo)

2017 Whoop and Hollar Folk Fest. (Dennis Wiens photo)

Despite a successful 2017 that saw ample growth both internally and externally, Portage la Prairie's Whoop and Hollar Folk Fest is heading in a different direction.

Tripling in size, the festival committee expanded from three to nine members who have introduced a number of changes in 2018. Headlined with the elimination of the folk festival's winter show and the association governing the event's organization, new this year is an official website - whoopandhollar.com - along with streamlined social media handles for easier recognition.    

“We had a great 2017,” says event coordinator Linda Omichinski. “Attendance was up and format change at the festival grounds was met with positive acceptance but now that we’re growing it becomes too much to wear too many hats. This will be our sixth festival and while we are gaining experience and insight, we know the new committee members have much to offer." 

Although the committee cut ties with it's winter folk festival, as part of a rebranding initiative, the organization has partnered with several different community groups to host monthly open mic nights.

“We have rebranded,” says Josh Wright, the new Whoop and Hollar artistic director. “Everything is being rebranded as the Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival. All of our activities throughout the year will now come under a single banner.”

In an effort to boast a more consistent, prevalent brand, the Whoop and Hollar Folk Fest recently announced the beginning of its Mic and Jam Nights at the Royal Canadian Legion. The stage is open to anything from music and poetry to dramatic or comedic performances in an effort to foster the community's artist talent. 

"This is something we believe will be embraced by both performer and fan alike. The format as it is today will see a performer – not limited to only musicians, but all forms of art media," Wright adds.

The open mic nights will be held on the final Friday of each month at the Royal Canadian Legion, organized in partnership with Visions of Independence, Badlands Promotions, Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 65, and Sawmill Tea and Coffee Co. This year's folk festival takes place the weekend of August 25.

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