The inaugural Winnipeg Folk Festival was held in 1974 in Birds Hill Provincial Park on Treaty 1 territory and homeland of the Métis nation, as a one-time celebration to mark Winnipeg’s 100th anniversary. It was a free event and attracted an estimated audience of 22,000 over the three-day weekend.
While our organization has grown considerably since then, the gathering in 1974 created a community and laid down important roots in Birds Hill Provincial Park that remain strong today.
Forty-five years later, the organization has grown considerably but kept true to its important musical and community roots. The summer festival’s cumulative attendance exceeds 70,000 annually and includes visitors and performers from across North America and around the world. There are nearly 2,800 dedicated volunteers who contribute well over 60,000 hours each year to create the magic that is the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
The organization has evolved from a one-weekend event in July to a year-round charitable, nonprofit arts organization with folk music at its heart, presenting dozens of concerts and events throughout the year and community support through outreach programs.
Our four-day weekend festival in July generates more than $29.4 million in economic activity and creates 281 jobs for the province of Manitoba. The impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Manitoba is estimated at $14.7 million. The GDP represents the estimated net economic activity generated from this signature Manitoba event.*
* 2010 Economic Impact Assessment by Tourism Winnipeg