Peace, love, and music: The Festival Campground at the Winnipeg Folk Festival

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Camping at Festival grounds a unique summer experience

The Winnipeg Folk Festival has some of the best music to be found in western Canada during the summer months, but almost as exciting as the artists is the Festival Campground.

At the Festival Campground, 6,000 campers brave the elements for a chance to be a short walk to the festival grounds, and to have an experience that can’t be found anywhere else. Early Wednesday morning, the campground is an ordinary prairie field, but by the end of the day, the place has transformed into a tent city with dozens of attractions that are ready to explore.

The campground is a magical place, where the norms of society drop away, and everyone is free to do what they want. The Woodstock ethos of peace and love runs strong, and everyone is open to a friendly conversation. If you ever plan on experiencing the Festival Campground at the Winnipeg Folk Festival (and you should), follow these tips from Ominocity.

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Find shade, if you can

As a huge prairie field circled by brush, with a few tufts of trees in the middle, finding shade is tricky, so securing a shady spot is one of the most important goals for many campers. In order to do so, some campers start lining up at 4 a.m. the day the campground opens, and even that doesn’t guarantee you a place in the shade.

Biking in or getting dropped off seems to be the fastest way to get in, as the car line up is ridiculously long (my crew got in line at 6 AM, and finally set up our tents around 10 AM). If you can’t find shade, bring shade. Canopies, shade tents, tarps – get creative. Because when that midsummer sunshine starts shining down, you’re going to need that protection.

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Explore

Every year, the Castle Boys create a giant structure, a meeting place for impromptu music jams. In the middle of a sea of tents, suddenly a castle or a ship rises up unexpectedly. This year, they’ve created a space barn. During the day, it takes the familiar form of a red barn, but at night it lights up with blue lights, becoming otherwordly.

If you get lost in the Festival Campground, which happens easier than you might think, and you can’t find the art installation you’re looking for, that’s okay, because people get creative in a multitude of ways. Glowing stick men seem to float through the night, a giant game of Jenga waits to be played, and poi dancers use glow sticks for an impressive effect.

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Get creative

Speaking of the creative people at the Festival Campground, don’t forget to bring your own creativity! Whether you choose to express yourself through painting your face, or wearing a costume, or building an attraction of your own, contributing to the festivities will ensure a fantastic time.

Festival goers are always appreciative of the creative spirit, and will be glad you made the effort to share your own creative juices.

Bring an instrument

The music doesn’t stop when you leave the festival grounds. From the first thing into the morning until late into the night (and sometimes right until the first thing in the morning again), drum circles pound away at their tribal beats, people walk through the tent city strumming at a guitar, and sing alongs spring up spontaneously. There are even a couple of pianos on premises!

The spirit of the festival is in its music, and that’s best seen at the Festival Campground. Sometimes the whole campground turns into a song of sorts, when one group sends up a cheer that moves through the crowd like a wave. Bring your own instruments, and if you can’t for whatever reason, remember we all have an instrument in our voices.