How To Folk

Everyone has a fun, relaxed time when they know what to expect. Here are some of the really important things we need you to know as a Winnipeg Folk Fest ticketholder.

Keeping Our Community Safe & Happy

Every July, the Folk Fest community comes together at Birds
Hill Provincial Park in celebration of folk music and culture. We believe that every individual regardless of their gender, ability, age, ethnicity and sexuality should feel safe and comfortable in our environment and free from any negativity or harm due to others’ actions or words. 

As an organization, we encourage creativity, freedom of expression and respectful discussion, but not at the harm of others - regardless of attendees’ intentions. Any form of discrimination, harassment, disorderly conduct, or any behaviour – verbal or physical – that demeans or marginalizes another will not be tolerated. 

If you feel someone is behaving in a disrespectful manner or is negatively affecting your or another’s festival experience, please bring your concerns to a blue-vested safety volunteer as soon as possible so that we can address them in a timely manner. 

You are part of a wonderfully diverse audience and we ask that you consider your neighbours and our team of volunteers when you attend the festival. Let’s support each other and continue to ensure our community is one of inclusiveness and respect! 

In addition, it is important to remember that the festival and campgrounds are subject to provincial and federal laws. Please respect the valuable work that law enforcement officers and our own safety and security volunteers do to keep everyone in our Folk Fest community safe. 

Safety Volunteers & Security

Winnipeg Folk Festival safety volunteers (in blue vests) help facilitate a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. They have discretion and authority to ensure that the Participant Responsibilities are met by all. Please assist them by following their instructions when asked to do so.

Participant Responsibilities

Show off your wristband with pride. Wristbands must be worn at all times and shown for entry into Folk Fest campgrounds and the festival site. Wristbands are non-transferable, non-exchangeable and cannot be replaced. If you remove or tamper with your wristband in any way, you will not be allowed entry. 

Prohibited Items. Vehicles and bags are subject to search by festival staff and volunteers for excessive amounts of alcohol and prohibited materials. We do not allow and may confiscate: glass, household furniture, amplified music, drum kits, print materials for distribution, unauthorized generators, pets, commercial vending, illegal drugs, binge drinking devices, laser pointers, firearms/ weapons, sky/Chinese/Kongming lanterns, fireworks and other explosives. 

Mind your manners. Drunkenness, rowdy or otherwise disorderly conduct, obscene, crude or abusive language, taking inappropriate or non-consensual photographs or video, and/or failure to follow directions from festival staff and volunteers will not be tolerated. 

Leave no trace. With your help, Folk Fest is a sustainable event. Pack out everything you bring in. Campsites must be kept clean. Anything that has a larger impact (e.g. digging holes, using lumber) must be pre-approved by the Winnipeg Folk Festival (WFF). Make sure water taps are turned off when not in use and make sure to remove any ropes you tie to trees when you leave. 

Keep alcohol in its place. Open alcohol is not allowed on the festival site, parking lots, on trails, roads, Pope’s Hill or anywhere outside the festival site or campgrounds. Alcohol is only allowed on the festival site when purchased and consumed in the Folk Fest taverns. 

No personal vehicles are allowed. Due to the high density of pedestrians in the area we are unable to accommodate the use of personal motorized vehicles anywhere on our premises. Bicycles are not permitted at Folk Fest (a bike lockup is available just outside the festival entrance), and should be used with caution in the festival campgrounds. Please walk your bike on all trails you share with pedestrians. 

Smile – you may be on camera. You acknowledge that people are using video and photographic cameras at the event and that your image may be captured on video or in photographs, which may subsequently be displayed or disseminated without your consent or payment of compensation to you and you release the WFF from any legal liability for such filming, photographing or dissemination. You understand and accept that other than for personal use, images, film or video you obtain at the event may not be used without the prior written permission of the WFF. 

We have first aid and we’re not afraid to use it! You consent to have medical treatment and/or transport that may be deemed advisable in the event of injury, accident and/or illness during the event. You release the WFF and all persons participating in any such medical treatment for all legal liability for any such actions. 

Ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges will be issued for any reason, even if the event is terminated early or cancelled due to accident, nature, government regulation or conditions beyond the WFF’s control. 

Camp in the campgrounds, not in your car. We have two beautiful campgrounds full of amenities and supports. Our parking lots are just for that – parking – and we do not allow camping or cooking on camp stoves there at any time. Our parking lots are high traffic areas, so please do not hang out there. There is no overnight parking in our lots. 

You are responsible for yourself. You assume full responsibility and liability for your participation in and attendance of the festival. You also assume all risks and dangers incidental to the WFF, including loss or damage to property, personal injury or death, and hereby forever release, discharge and hold the WFF, its officers, directors, employees, volunteers, contractors, agents or representatives harmless from any claim arising from such risk, even if arising from the negligence of the WFF, its officers, directors, employees, volunteers, contractors, agents or representatives, or by third parties. 

Tarp Culture

Tarp culture is a very important culture to the folks who attend the Winnipeg Folk Fest. Even since the early days, it’s been very important to our folkies to claim spots with great views of Main Stage. 

Our “Tarp Shuffle” has become a tradition for many – it’s a fun event if you care about getting a spot super-close to Main Stage. Numbered tarp seating tickets are issued at the Main Gate at 4:00 PM on Thursday and 8:00 AM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Next, you head over to the Main Stage area. Access to the Main Stage seating area is cordoned off until 10 minutes after the Main Gate opens. When your number is called, you can shuffle, walk or even skip (just don’t run!) to claim your spot. 

Please note that the maximum tarp size allowed is 8 feet by 10 feet. The folk community has a culture of sharing, so you might find someone sitting on your tarp when you’re not there. These “tarp squatters” should relinquish the space upon your return. Share the space, share your tarp and please don’t reserve a spot at a day stage with an empty chair.

Many folks like to identify their tarp with a tarp marker – and we love the creativity that goes in to these every year. Just remember to keep the size and height of your markers reasonable as to not distract the folks sitting behind you from the performance on stage. 

Dance to your heart's content where there is room and you won't block anyone's view. At daytime stages, go to the right side when facing the stage. In the evening, Big Blue @ Night is a tarp-free dancing zone! The Main Stage dancing areas are behind the sound booth at centre field and to the far right when facing the stage.

So, you want to folk?

Everyone wants to hear the music. Please be respectful of performers and other folkies and take conversations (in person or on the phone) away from seating areas.

Everyone wants to see the action. Take only the space you need and don’t block others’ views. If you have something that could impede someone’s view (higher chairs, shade umbrellas, etc.) please sit at the back of the seating areas. For full details of maximum sizes of items, please visit our website.

Move when the spirit takes you – respectfully. Dance to your heart’s content on the right side when facing the stages. People may stand up and move to the front of the stage for the last band’s set. Please respect people’s space and be mindful of their belongings and tarps.

Everyone gets a great seat. At Main Stage we have an area dedicated for our community members who cannot sit in our regular seating areas due to accessibility issues. Please respect this space and keep it open for those that need it.

Hug trees, don't choke them. It is very important that you remove ropes from trees at the end of the festival. Ropes left tied to tree branches and trunks strangles and eventually it kills the tree. It also creates a hidden weak point that can eventually cause a limb to break and fall creating a safety risk for festival goers.

Everyone wants to have a great experience. Please take any waste, including your reusable plates, to a waste station. There is no smoking – including e-cigarettes – in concert seating areas or under tents.

When you join us at Folk Fest, our Festival Campground and/or Quiet Campground, it signifies your agreement to the rules above. Along with our zero-tolerance for violence, theft and other criminal acts, folks who don’t follow these guidelines and create an unsafe atmosphere are subject to immediate removal from the festival without refund. So please be good!

So, you want to camp?

  • The Festival Campground will open at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, July 5.
  • The Quiet Campground will open 8:00 AM on Thursday, July 6.
  • Campgrounds are unserviced. Only phones can be charged at the designated charging stations at the festival site and in the Festival Campground.

Campers 17 years and younger must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian, with a limit of four minors per adult who will be held solely responsible for the actions of the minors under their care. We reserve the right to ask for proof of age.

Birds Hill Provincial Park has rules in place to reduce the risk of fire.

  • Fires are only permitted in the park’s metal and concrete pits. No fire pits from home.
  • Flames must not exceed 1.5 feet from the top of the pit and must be supervised at all times.
  • Do not collect wood from the grounds – it destroys animal habitats.
  • Fire sticks, tiki torches, batons and fireworks are prohibited.

RV camping

  • Only registered camping vehicles are permitted: RVs, campers, trailers and camper vans. Truck/SUV tents, designed specifically to attach to your truck/SUV and convert it into a living space are permitted. Sleeping in your car, an unconverted van or box truck is not permitted.
  • Vehicles pulling trailers must leave the camping area after parking the trailer. The exception is trucks providing power to fifth wheels.
  • Once inside, RVs/vehicles must not be moved except when vacating the campground.
  • There are no in/out privileges for camping vehicles.

Accessibility Camping Area (North End of Area 5)

For patrons that require special services, such as electrical power for medical devices, we have an area set aside to support your camping experience. Due to park infrastructure restrictions we only have limited availability in this area. If you require electricity for medical purposes, please speak to the blue vested volunteer when entering the RV area. People wishing to access this area will be asked to provide additional information. 
    

A Few Other Things To Keep In Mind

Parking lot camping. We have two beautiful campgrounds, full of amenities and supports, for you to camp in during the festival. Our parking lots are just that, parking lots, and as it is unsafe to camp there and we do not allow it at any time.

Tailgating. Our parking lots are just that, busy parking lots, and as it is unsafe to hang out there we do not allow loitering there at any time. It also is disrespectful to make others park farther away from the gate because you take up more than your fair share of space. Need a break from festival? The Birds Hill Provincial Park is a gem, full of walking paths, a beach and other areas to explore. Enjoy nature!

Overnight parking in the festival parking lots. Because our crews need time each morning to get the area ready to receive all of our community members, cleaning up garbage, adjusting infrastructure, there is no overnight parking in our festival parking lots. Any vehicles left overnight may be towed at the owner’s risk and expense. If something extraordinary happens and you need to leave your vehicle overnight please speak to our safety volunteers at their HQ by the festival gate. They will register your vehicle so it won’t be towed.

Hug trees, don't choke them. It is very important that you remove ropes from trees at the end of the festival. Ropes left tied to tree branches and trunks strangles and eventually it kills the tree. It also creates a hidden weak point that can eventually cause a limb to break and fall creating a safety risk for festival goers.

Chairs, umbrellas and wheelchairs. At day stages, chairs higher than two feet and umbrellas must be placed at the back of seating areas. If you can roll a soccer ball underneath it, we consider it a high chair! At Main Stage there is a reserved area left of the stage for chairs over two feet high and for wheelchairs. You may use tarps here, but people on chairs could sit in front of you.

Smoking. If you’re going to smoke (this also applies to e-cigarettes), please step away from the concert seating areas and out from under tents. Butts belong in the garbage, not on the ground. Find a yellow garbage can or pick up a free snuffer-pouch at the Audience Services. 

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