It's January and the weather is ridiculous. What better time to run a music fest?! Yes, the Big Fun Festival returns for its third year, taking over downtown Winnipeg stages January 22-26. This year, the indie music festival has expanded, adding an extra day and offering a dozen shows featuring over 30 acts, including many headlining locals.
"Manitoba has such an amazing wealth of talent and we are constantly amazed every year by the quality and quantity of the submissions," says Big Fun artistic director Stefan Braun of the heavy local focus. "The best part is that the genres are so eclectic that it makes booking the festival incredibly easy and we can pull from every scene and show the city something they may not have seen before."
This year's eclectic lineup includes ATLAAS, Boats, Demetra, french press, Indicator Indicator, J. Riley Hill, Kieran West & His Buffalo Band, Les Jupes, Mahogany Frog, Mobina Galore, Pop Crimes, The Bros. Landreth, VAMPIRES, Yes We Mystic, and many more. A thwack of other Manitobans take the stage throughout the festival alongside touring artists, including Polaris Music Prize shortlister METZ and Saskatchewan folk act Zachary Luky.
Big Fun will also team up with the WSO New Music Festival for two events during the overlapping event, including the rare hometown show with electronic artist Venetian Snares with Mahogany Frog for Pop Nuit on January 25, and a sub-festival event featuring music legend Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth, The Dust) with Jim Jarmusch and Phil Kline on January 27.
Manitoba Music is also getting in on the Big Fun, launching the inaugural January Music Meeting mini-conference January 24-26, featuring panels, workshops, discussion groups, and one-on-one meetings with some top industry names. Big Fun will also present a Manitoba Music Showcase on January 24 at the Windsor with The Bros. Landreth, Indicator Indicator, and Yes We Mystic, plus performances by ATLASS and Les Jupes.
"There are a lot of new things this year," explains Braun. "We have started several great partnerships that have given us the opportunity to grow substantially. It's all incredibly exciting and affirming that this is a festival that should continue to happen and grow."
As the Big Fun crew gets ready to kick off its 2014 edition, it already has eyes on the future.
"The only direction is up," says Braun. "I would love to see the festival have an all encompassing feel to it, including more all ages and free programming, bringing in other elements such as art, food, markets, comedy. This city is incredibly supportive of its arts and if we can all come together in the dead of winter it would be a wonderful thing."
Check out show info below or visit the Live Music Calendar for more.