The inaugural Winnipeg Folk Festival was held in 1974 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.
Our summer festival’s cumulative attendance is in the tens of thousands and includes visitors and performers from across North America and around the world. We have nearly 3000 dedicated volunteers who contribute well over 60,000 hours each year to create the magic that is the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
We have evolved from a one-weekend event in July to a year-round arts organization with folk music at our heart. We present dozens of concerts and events throughout the year, support our community with education and outreach programs and operate a folk music store and performance space in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. We are also a not-for-profit charitable organization.
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