Come Play in the Park

By Winnipeg Folk Festival

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The Winnipeg Folk Festival is promoting young talent through two programs this year: The Young Performers Program and The Young Artists Program. The Festival's spectacular music and colourful outdoor setting are ideal elements to inspire creativity and challenge young minds.

Now in its sixth year, the Young Performers Program is a training and performance experience for singers, songwriters, and folk instrumentalists ages 14 - 25. Some former participants have even gone on to pursue careers in the music business. An example is singer-songwriter Cara Luft, who was in the first ever program in 2000 and returns to this year's Festival as a professional performer.

The first part of the program offers a day of workshops and mentoring with musicians performing at this yearıs festival. Past mentors have included Ember Swift, John Mann (Spirit of the West), Stephen Fearing and Andy Stochansky (drummer for Ani DiFranco).

The second part of the program is performing onstage at the Folk Festival where the sessions will be recorded by Shaw TV for future broadcast. Participants are also eligible to attend various workshops and master classes throughout the year, thanks to workshop sponsor Great-West Life.

The latest educational opportunity from the Winnipeg Folk Festival for youth is The Young Artists Program, also sponsored by Great-West Life. Inspired by the popularity of The Young Performers Program, this is a complementary program for young visual artists.

On the first day of the program, emerging artists ages 14 - 21 will take part in workshops with professional artists. For the rest of the weekend, these young artists will explore their creativity and develop projects on site to engage, amuse and challenge our audience. Artists of all visual disciplines are welcome.

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