The summer of music festivals continues with the seventh annual edition of Aboriginal Music Week, which kicks off its run on August 18 and takes over various Winnipeg venues until August 22. With a strong focus on community and a big contingent of Manitoba-based artists, this year's fest will feature a number of free and tickets shows as well as community celebrations, workshops, industry networking, and more.
The diverse slate of local acts hitting stages throughout the festivities included Indigenous Music Award-nominee Hellnback, award-winning country pop singer Ali Fontaine, pop singer/songwriter Ila Barker, music legend Winston Wuttunee, jazz trumpeter Chuck Conpenace, singer/songwriter William Prince, and many more.
This year's free community celebration series take live music to less advantaged neighbourhoods in Winnipeg so families can walk to the venues, including the Spence Neighbourhood Block Party at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre in August 19, the Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre on August 20, and the Austin Street Festival where the Aboriginal Music Week Stage will highlight acts from Quebec, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, and right here at home. On August 22, JUNO-winnint C-Weed Band is set to the Aboriginal Music Week Stage presented by TD at Picnic in the Park.
The festival is also hosting free music workshops for youth August 20, 21, and 22, offering a chance to ask questions about the music and to learn more about the successes and challenges faced by some of this year's performers.
Helping to establish important connections, Aboriginal Music Week is set to host three Indigenous artist from overseas who will be available for one-on-one mentor meetings about the markets for performances by Indigenous artists in Australia and New Zealand.
The festival has re-focused its evening programming this year, providing networking opportunities for performers along with smaller ticketed shows. The National Music Centre will networking dinners on the first two nights, while The Good Will will be home to two events including the popular annual open mic on August 21, and the Closing Night Party on August 22.