Posted by Andrea Ratuski, SCENE Producer | Friday July 27, 2012
It's non-stop fiddling at Métisfest in Killarney, Manitoba this weekend. Now in its fourth year, the event has moved its home from The International Peace Gardens to Killarney's Shamrock Centre.
The festival is one huge celebration of everything Métis.
"We got this together to promote and preserve the Métis culture," says event organizer Dan Goodon. "If you talk to any Métis person, first and foremost we are Canadian citizens. But we just want to showcase the talent of our youth and our experienced performers that don't normally get the stage."
J.J. Lavallee will be fiddling at Métisfest in Killarney (Jynx Munroe)
This will be J.J. Lavallee's third appearance at the festival. "It's the fact that it seems to bring so many people together from everywhere," he says. "They love that old tyme fiddle, that old tyme country, and that's what I love to play."
"It gives me a chance to meet new people," he continues. "That's what I love about it. There are so many different people with so many different stories."
Donny Parenteau is thrilled to be part of Métisfest. "With Métis music, they do everything straight from the heart," he enthuses. "Everything."
"That's the way I play my music. That's the way I write my songs. That's the way I sing."
There will also be lots of traditional jigging and Old Tyme dancing in the evening for those with the urge to kick up their heels.
The music brings them in," explains Goodon. "Once they're here, they also get great food, red river carts, lots of history, even lessons in the Michif language." Festivities take place at the Rendezvous Village, a trading post, and a pair of stages.
The festival attracts visitors from all over North America, from as far away as California, Michigan, Alaska and of course Canada. Last year 10,000 people took in the attractions. The festival was declared "Event of the Year" 2011 by Tourism Westman.