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Here & Now: What To Do In Winnipeg in July and August

Our picks for must-see and do activities during your stay.

Credit Joey Senft

Credit Joey Senft

Folk Fun

July 6-9 – The revered Winnipeg Folk Festival gives the stage to local and big‑name talent (pictured). Camp out for the whole weekend or escape for a day and see shows by Feist, City and Colour, Barenaked Ladies, and Foy Vance. Eat, drink, shop and dance to live music at nine stages throughout the park. Free shuttle buses depart every 30 minutes from the bus stop at 389 Balmoral Ave, downtown Winnipeg. Birds Hill Provincial Park, visit winnipegfolkfestival.ca for tickets.

Fringe interest

July 19-30 – The 30th annual Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival takes over the Exchange District for two and a half weeks. The celebration of independent theatre boasts more than 180 creative and boundary-pushing shows from across Canada and the world. Old Market Square is the festival’s main gathering spot with live music and local vendors selling food and drinks. Tickets available at the door or with a 7 or 14-show pass. Various venues. 204‑943‑7464 or winnipegfringe.com for full schedule.

Movies on the beach

July 26-30 – Travel North of the city and join thousands of people at the 18th annual Gimli Film Festival. More than 100 dramas, documentaries and short films are screened at indoor venues or on the beach at sunset. See popular movies like American Graffiti and Footloose. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to movie start time. Rush seating. Various locations. Tickets and festival passes available in advance at gimlifilm.com or at the door.

Go for gold

July 28-Aug 13 Get into the fast paced action this summer and watch young athletes compete for gold in 16 different sports at Canada Games. During the Games, The Forks will act as a central hub showcasing Canadian talent every night with headliners such as Ontario’s Kardinal Offishall, Quebec’s Coeur de Pirate, and Manitoba’s Sierra Noble. Various venues. For tickets and info visit 2017canadagames.ca

Cross the globe

Aug 6-19 Travel the world—no passports required—at Folklorama, the world’s largest and longest running multicultural festival. Enjoy entertainment, such as the flaming limbo at the Caribbean pavilion, and traditional meals, like perfectly pinched perogies and scratch made kolbassa at the Ukrainian show. With 41 pavilions to explore, take a VIP Tour to bypass line-ups and visit multiple pavilions in one night for the ultimate world tour. For information, visit folklorama.ca or call 204‑982‑6210.

My my, how can i resist you?

Aug 10-31 Watch as sunny and funny Mamma Mia! unfolds on a Greek island paradise. The jukebox musical tells the story of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads, all set to the tunes of ABBA. Rainbow Stage, Canada’s largest and longest‑running outdoor theatre tucked away in Kildonan Park is the setting for this hilarious musical show. 2021 Main St. For tickets, call 204‑989‑0888 or visit rainbowstage.ca

My kind of rodeo

Aug 18-20 Music festival Interstellar Rodeo pairs artists such as Beck and Father John Misty with gourmet beer and wine for a full VIP experience. Don’t miss the local food trucks on site. This outdoor celebration takes over The Forks, with weekend and single day attendees free to wander Winnipeg’s meeting place. The Forks, 1 Forks Market Rd. Visit interstellarrodeo.com for tickets and info.

Lots of laughs

Aug 24-27 The 3rd annual Oddblock Comedy Festival returns to South Osborne featuring more than 50 comedians. Catch acts from The Late Late Show writer Eliza Skinner and returning festival favourite Matt Braunger (pictured). Venue-hopping attendees can grab a bite from nearby restaurants and food trucks or relax at streetside beer gardens. Join in the fun during the free open mic nights on Friday and Saturday, 8 pm-12 am. Various locations. 204‑478‑7275 or oddblock.ca for tickets.

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Winnipeg’s Drummer Boy

Sean Quigley has turned his viral internet success into an opportunity to change the world and explore his passion, one song at a time.

Photo courtesy Sean Quigley

Photo courtesy Sean Quigley

By Joelle Kidd

When asked, “why The Little Drummer Boy?”, a grin creeps over Sean Quigley’s face.

“Do you want the cheesy answer—or the real answer?”

The question, of course, refers to Quigley’s video of the same name, which as racked up almost 3.3 million views to date on YouTube. In it, the then 16-year-old, clad in shorts, a toque, and Hudson’s Bay Canada mittens, carries a drum through snowcapped scenes of a Winnipeg winter while an updated version of the carol—complete with buzzy guitar and a drum solo—plays. The video has resonated with a huge number of people, winning internet fame, and has had long lasting impact on many fans.

At the time, Quigley had not the faintest idea that his project would be so successful. “To be honest, I chose the song because of the Boney M Christmas album,” he says. “I just wanted to put my own spin on it.”

Armed with nothing but a borrowed video camera and a school computer covertly loaned by one of his High School teachers, the teenager set out to make a music video. The original plan was to shoot indoors, which turned up too dark on camera. Then, the morning of the planned shoot, Sean awoke to a dazzling snowfall. “I just knew, we can’t miss this,” he says. He and his sister formed a makeshift film crew, loading his drums into the back of her car and driving to his favourite spots around the city.

“I think people relate to its authenticity,” he says. The video was made on a whim, with DIY spirit, at next to no cost, by a young musician. For Quigley, the video’s story is one of searching and finding—a version of his own personal journey. “At the time, I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer the world except music,” he remembers. At the end of the video, the lone drummer stands, overlooking the city, playing his snare drum, his voice finally heard.

In the five years since The Little Drummer Boy was originally posted, Quigley has come a long way. The burst of success that followed his viral video sensation originally took him to Los Angeles, where he ended up on the edge of a quarter million dollar record contract.

But this record deal required compromising the authenticity that had won him fans in the first place. “I couldn’t do it—it didn’t feel right,” he says. “So I walked away.”

Quigley has never regretted turning down the offer. Instead, he has found purpose and the freedom to express himself here in his hometown of Winnipeg.

Online success opened the door to promoting charitable organizations. In one instance, he was offered a partnership deal with Hudsons Bay Company, after they saw the iconic Canada mittens featured in the Little Drummer Boy video. Like the rest of the video shoot, the mittens were chosen for practical reasons—Sean’s hands were cold and he grabbed some mitts out of the car. But he used his newfound clout to collect mittens for Winnipeg’s homeless, and held a special concert with proceeds going to local shelter Siloam Mission.

He has also worked with World Vision, and while travelling with the organization met fellow Winnipegger Karli Gerbrandt, who was working at a non-profit in Cambodia. The two musicians and world travellers reconnected when they returned home to Winnipeg, got married, and began playing music together.

Under the name Bold As Lions, the duo released a full studio album in 2014 called The Hope Movement, a collection of crisp harmonies, earworm hooks, and poignant lyrics. Another album is in the works to be released this year.

For this couple-turned-band, roots in this city go deep. “There’s something special about Winnipeg,” Sean says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world, but I never feel there’s anything I can’t do right here.”

Find concert schedule and music online at boldaslions.ca.

See the video that started it all:

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Indoor Fun in Banff & Canmore

March 15, 2016
By Where Writers

Read on for some of our favourite places to escape chilly weather.


The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre: Get your ice time in at public skates Sunday to Thursday. The $20 drop-in learn-to-curl class (Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm) includes gear.

The Banff Centre: See top international talent at a music, dance or theatre performance. Coming up soon (March 26), Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star: Truth & Reconciliation portrays a First Nations woman in a life of youthful excess.


Mingle with Locals at the Canmore Mountain Market

On Thursday, June 11, the sun was shining during the first Canmore Mountain Market of the season. Vendors from Canmore and the surrounding area came to peddle their wares, drawing crowds of locals and tourists alike.

The Raven and The Fox provided entertainment, filling the market with singer Julie Chang’s melodious voice and acoustic guitarist Sean Isaac’s accompaniment. The duo played a few of their original songs and covered bands including Guns N’ Roses and Damien Rice.

Spring brings an abundance of new seasonal fruits and vegetables, which were out in force. Fresh and colourful produce filled every corner of the market. Favourites like crunchy sweet peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and black kale sat beside baskets of beautiful strawberries, raspberries, cherries and grapes. Interesting additions include garlic scapes and heirloom eggplants.

Red, orange, yellow and green peppers provided a rainbow of healthy snacks. Photo by Ashley Materi

Red, orange, yellow and green peppers provided a rainbow of healthy snacks. Photo by Ashley Materi


Interview with Ed Sheeran

By Breanna Mroczek

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is currently on tour with country-pop songstress Taylor Swift as the opening act on her Red tour, with Canadian tour dates in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Before his second show in Edmonton, Sheeran stopped by local radio station Virgin 104.9 for a fan VIP Experience.

If you’re wondering: “Who is Ed Sheeran?”: After years of independently releasing EPs and singles, Sheeran achieved mainstream success in the UK with his song “The A-Team”  which became the best selling debut single in the UK in 2011. He released his debut album + later that year, and it went quadruple platinum in the UK. Like Swift, Sheeran has received accolades for writing most of his own songs and draws on folk, hip-hop, and pop influences. Hailing from London, he (arguably) garnered attention in North America because of his affiliation with popular boy band One Direction — Sheeran wrote songs for the band, including “Moments” and “Little Things”. Still, Sheeran’s musical style and sound doesn’t compare to that of the aforementioned boyband sensation—his unaided live performances (Sheeran performs only with a loop pedal and guitar, and without a backup band), gripping songwriting, and genre-blending style have earned him attention and praise as a solo artist.

Sheeran’s Edmonton fans eagerly gathered at the Virgin Radio studios, clutching their bright orange copies of Sheeran’s debut album + (pronounced “plus”)to meet Sheeran  and listen to a performance that included acoustic renditions of Lego House, a cover of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, and The A-Team.

Sheeran was very polite and casual, dressed in a Star Wars T-shirt that showed off his many arm tattoos—including a brand-new one on his right arm that hadn’t even healed yet—and neon blue Nike shoes that he purchased yesterday “at some mall” in Edmonton. No, Sheeran wasn’t oblivious to his presence at the largest mall in North America; when asked if he had been at West Edmonton Mall, he replied “is that the one with the roller coaster? No, not that one. [Taylor Swift’s] dancers went there last night but I didn’t go—the one I went to was small and didn’t have as many stores, but it had a shoe store and… I bought these” he says, gesturing to his shoes. Talking with Sheeran was like having a conversation with a friend—no gimmicks or pretentious, diva-like behaviour.


Luminato Festival: Concerts at the Festival Hub

Kid Koala's Space Cadet show is just one of the Luminato Festival's free concerts (photo: AJ Korkidakis)

Kid Koala’s Space Cadet show is just one of the Luminato Festival’s free concerts (photo: AJ Korkidakis)

JUNE 14 TO 23  Officially known as David Pecaut Square—after one of Luminato’s co-founders—the Festival Hub on King Street West is ground for dozens of concerts, art installations, lunchtime discussions and more. The musical performances, in particular, are organized around a variety of curated themes. Opening night sees a double-bill of Toronto-born stars k-os and Serena Ryder popping the cork on this year’s festivities. Beat aficionados can check out Beijing supergroup Long Shen Dao (June 15) as they fuse the reggae spirit with traditional Chinese instruments. For a more low-key, mellow vibe, stop in for Montreal DJ Kid Koala‘s late-night Space Cadet show (June 14 & 15), which  offers an immersive “quiet time” experience under the night sky. Similarly, Polaris Prize winner Patrick Watson (June 20) carries on the cozy vibe with a performance of his warm, intimate tunes. Other highlights include Malian musicians Amadou and Mariam (June 16), interpretive music pioneer Laurie Anderson (June 16) and country scion Rosanne Cash (June 22). David Pecaut Square, 55 John St., free; visit luminatofestival.com for a full schedule and further details.  —Sam Cheung

Please note that Kid Koala’s Space Cadet performance is $20. All other shows mentioned in this article are free.

Hot Dates in Halifax: 5 for Music Lovers

Blue Rodeo returns to Halifax on January 18th at the Halifax Metro Centre. Photo: Warner Music

January 18: P.E.I. singer/songwriter Lennie Gallant joins Symphony Nova Scotia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

January 18: With solid musical chops, distinctive song-writing and deep roots, it’s little wonder that Blue Rodeo remains one of Canada’s hottest musical acts. See them at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street.

February 2: One of Canada’s biggest rock bands for two decades, the Tragically Hip never stay away from Halifax for long.

February 24: Tafelmusik’s Jeanne Lamon joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a celebration of Baroque music at Saint Andrew’s United Church on Coburg Road.

February 28: Celtic Woman, an ensemble of female performers, perform Celtic tunes at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street.

Editors Choice
February 9: Southern gospel staples since 1939, the Blind Boys of Alabama offer an uplifting celebration of American gospel, roots and blues. Three blind singers, joined by four other musicians, offer timeless hits like “Way Down in the Hole,” “Soldier” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” The concert will be held at Dalhousie’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

Hot Date: Rush to See Rush

Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are (prog) rocking in Toronto

OCTOBER 14 & 16  Good thing you kept those old concert T-shirts! Canadian prog-rock band Rush charges into Toronto to promote Clockwork Angels, its 20th studio album. Air Canada Centre, 8 p.m., $55.50 to $139; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit Ticketmaster to buy.

Bloc Party Concert and Exclusive Interview

Bloc Party plays at the Edmonton Event Centre on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 pm.
Photo courtesy EMI Music Canada.

Bloc Party – the British indie-rock band, not to be confused with the political party – are in Edmonton on Tuesday, September 25 to play a show at the Edmonton Event Centre in support of their new album, Four.

WHERE Edmonton interviewed Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes about their Four tour and upcoming show in Edmonton. Moakes was very pleased to learn of the lovely, warm fall weather Edmonton  is currently experiencing, and says the band is looking forward to touring Canada for a series of shows before heading back to the UK.

The band returned to the music scene earlier this year after a brief hiatus; when the band announced their break in 2009 and most of the band members went to work on various side projects, rumours swirled that Bloc Party had permanently disbanded. This, apparently, was never the case. Moakes suggests that there was never a question of whether or not the band would make another album; rather, the question was about when the band would be able to work most effectively together and  have a good energy to make the sort of fourth record they could be proud of:

“We knew there should be another album . . . it was just about timing,” Moakes tells WHERE. “[The break] was definitely necessary at that time. We just weren’t functioning as a group. We could have made the record but we wouldn’t have enjoyed making it. We would have just been thinking about other things; and with the time off we got to do those things . . . we got to make the sort of music that wouldn’t have been possible with the band. Being able to do that and to have time away was really good. The record we would have made [before the break] would have been disastrous. The time away was good for everyone . . . When making the record we came back as equals and it was an enjoyable experience which led to a much better record”.


Hot Date: Groove With 1,500 musicians at the Toronto Jazz Festival

Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding is among this year's jazz fest headliners (photo by Carlos Pericas)

JUNE 22 TO JULY 1 Finally, the summer can really find its groove, thanks to the
TD Toronto Jazz Festival
. The long-running event now features more than 1,500 of the best musicians from around the world performing more than 350 concerts. The intersection between jazz and other genres like R&B, pop and hip hop is a focal point this year, with headliners including Esperanza Spalding, Janelle Monae, Ziggy Marley, the Robert Glasper Experiment and more. The fest also mixes music and visual art at special Groove and Graffiti workshops, where top taggers discuss their expressive aerosol art form. Various venues, $10 to $95; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit here for showtimes and to buy.

Hot Date: Canadian Music Week Brings in the Bands

The Cat Empire performs as part of Slacker Canadian Music Week

MARCH 21 TO 25 It’s the most tuneful time of the year. Celebrating its 30th edition, Slacker Canadian Music Week brings the biggest movers and shakers in the business to Toronto for a symposium, trade show, film screenings, comedy series, and, mostly importantly, a music festival with more than 900 artists at 60 venues. Some of Canada’s top indie bands—The Trews, for example—are scheduled to perform, along with international heat seekers like Australia’s The Cat Empire and L.A.-based comedian-turned-rapper Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover). Adding extra flavour to this year’s mix are spotlight shows featuring musicians from Latin America, Portugal and Spain, as well as a new jazz series. Festival wristbands $75 to $150; call 905-858-4747 or click here for more information.

30 Things We Love About Toronto in March 2012

1. Bannock (photo by Garrison McArthur Photographers)

1 Connecting with Canada’s culinary heritage with comfort food served up at Bannock.

2 The mix of abstract painting, graffiti and cartoon animation in Pascal Paquette’s mural outside of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.

3 Gussying ourselves up with fashionable finds from Lavish & Squalor.

4 Learning how April showers can make for superior May flowers at Canada Blooms.

5 Listening to the new versions of pop classics performed by Jann Arden at Massey Hall on March 9 and 10. (more…)