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The Winnipeg Folk Festival kicks off tonight. Here’s what to look forward to!

Over the next four days, more than 70 artists from around the world will perform over 1,000 songs on nine stages for over 70,000 festival-goers (total attendance) at the 46th Winnipeg Folk Festival in Bird’s Hill Park.
The festival officially begins tonight at 6 p.m. sharp with Taylor Janzen, who is currently riding the charts with her debut single “Dennis Quaid.”  Last year Janzen was a participant in the Young Performers Program, where festival artists mentor young performers and coach them through their own workshop (see Friday’s highlights).  According to WFF Artistic Director Chris Frayer, it’s a new tradition to have a Young Performer from the previous year opening the festival.
 
“It’s like our farm team,” he explained. “[This] shows that the program does what it set out to do; develop new talent and support emerging artists.”
 
Following Taylor Janzen on the mainstage is indie-folk artist Lindy Vopnfjord, who is no stranger to the stage. Hailing from Gimli, MB, the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland, Lindy Vopnfjord began his showbiz career early in life, beginning when he was four, touring and performing  traditional Icelandic songs with his parents.  As a solo adult artist he has developed a style of songwriting that fits nicely alongside Ron Sexsmith and Bahamas.
 
Next up is Larkin Poe, who have been called “the little sisters of the Allman Brothers,” but there’s nothing small about the smouldering southern blues this sister duo dishes up.  And yes, they are descendants of Edgar Allan Poe!
 
Jesse Matas, one third of the acclaimed folk-country-bluegrass (they mash it all up with a touch of dirty funk) trio, The Crooked Brothers, released his debut EP, Tamarock, in November, and while most of the well-crafted songs fit the folk tradition to a tee, he demonstrates the ability to rock out like Neil Young.
 
Speaking of rockin’ out, you may not know Newfoundland singer-songwriter Tim Baker, but you know his band Hey Rosetta!  They are renowned for their energy-generating shows and best known for their alternative rock hits “Welcome” and “Kintsikuroi.”
 
Nashville’s Sean McConnell is a fresh throwback to the 90s when country music was breaking out of its Chet Atkins straight jacket and getting cosmopolitan, for lack of a better term.  He’s a strong storyteller with a enough singer-songwriter story-songs in his repertoire to retain his folk cred.
 
Since 1997, Thursday night mainstage headliner Death Cab For Cutie’s laid back sound has attracted critical acclaim and legions of diehard fans. Their sound is much more alternative rock, indie, or emo than folk. Actually there’s nothing really folk about it, other than, like the shins in 2017, its appeal to the folk crowd.
 

That’s Thursday in a nutshell. We’ll have more previews, reviews, and feature articles throughout the weekend and week.  Be good, have fun, stay motivated; you’ve got three more days of this.  

 
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