Flying Fox and the Hunter/Gatherers are one of the headlining acts at this weekend's Fire 'n' Water Music Festival (Rebecca Croft)
It does not get any more original than the Fire 'n' Water Music Festival, which runs this August long weekend in Lac Du Bonnet.
Now entering its 6th year, the festival continues to morph and grow organically from a fundraising-based musical festival, to a sprawling carnivalesque collective of all things art. And that's the point.
"We are not trying to create a festival in our own image" said Sheldon Sveinson, artistic director of Fire 'n' Water. "Instead we are creating a foundation that invites different organizations and different arts groups to build upon with their own image."
This is not to say that there still won't be some spectacular music at the fest that will keep the crowds entertained. In fact, the talent on display is enough to satisfy the most demanding of music fans -- with a healthy showing from both Manitoba and the world.
From the local scene you can check out acts like Sol James, Nathan, and Flying Fox and the Hunter/Gatherers, while you won't want to miss the hillbilly, punky, roots music of Fernie's Shred Kelly and Ontario's alt-country-come-Motown enthusiasts Pistol George Warren.
"We do not have a theme of music we follow... We are a giant open envelop that's inviting in as many of the best artists as possible" said Sveinson. "We have people applying for the festival from around the world -- and major agents too. But having said that, that's not so critical, because the majority of our acts are Manitoban, or have a tie to Manitoba. With the talent here, you don't need to bring bands in."
The Festival offers an intimate setting for both the performers and the audience, blurring the lines between stage and spectator.
"When you come to our shows, there is only room for a couple hundred people at each stage. So instead of sitting at the wrong side of a security fence, you're actually sitting with the bands" said Sveinson. "You can socialize with them and it makes for a really nice energy - people can connect. You aren't the audience, you become part of the event."
With Fire 'n' Water being an all-encompassing artistic festival, there will also be an influx of art shows within the grounds, as upwards of 70 different vendors will be onsite working in different mediums.
And you especially won't want to miss the festival's bizarre and original "Wendigo Sol Barrage," what Sveinson describes as "an improvised performance art piece that is unrehearsed, involving a whole bunch of different people from different bands who end up designing an epic musical and theatrical show to a prearranged narrative."
We've been told it will involve "mechanized monsters and godesses that breathe fire." Yeah, we're sold too.
The Fire 'n' Water Music Festival runs August 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Lac Du Bonnet Community Centre Grounds. The Festival will feature 30 acts on four different stages. Tickets are $60 for the full weekend, $20 for Friday night, and $25 for Saturday and Sunday respectively.