The pipers will pipe, the drummers will drum, the musicians will float. Yes, they'll be floating on a huge barge at The Forks for the third annual Barge Festival beginning August 31.
This year the festival is helping to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of The Selkirk Settlers. So the emphasis is on Celtic music in general and Scottish music in particular, as well as First Nations, Métis and French, acknowledging the other nations who were already here when the Scots arrived.
The Barge Festival opens on Friday evening with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and special guest, John McDermott, who will offer up some of the most endearing Scottish favourites.
Saturday the performers are largely First Nations, Métis and French, including Indian City, Ray Stevenson and the Walking Wolf Dancers, Ca Claque and -- wait for it -- the pyrothechnic rock bagpipe band, Celtica.
Piper prepares for the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers (Andrea Ratuski/CBC)
Sunday at noon is the annual Arrival of the Selkirk Settlers Annual Parade followed by a demonstration of heavy games in Festival Park. Musical acts include pipe bands, Scottish dancers, the Bart House Band
, the Dust Rhinos
and the Barra MacNeils
all the way from Cape Breton. Fireworks top off the night.
Phyllis Fraser is co-chair of the Committee for the Bicentenary of the Red River Selkirk Settlement 2012. Her great, great great grandmother arrived with the 1812 group and she is excited about this event. "I think history is important," she says. "There are many descendants of the Selkirk Settlers around and I think we're very proud to be a part of this."
The Selkirk Settlers celebration will continue on into next week with a re-enactment of the historic 1812 arrival of the first group at Lavérendrye Park across from The Forks on September 4. The Bicentenary Gala Dinner takes place September 8 at the Convention Centre. And the current Lord Selkirk himself will pay a visit from Scotland.
The last two Barge Festivals were plagued by high waters and the performances actually had to be moved to higher ground. At today's announcement, Paul Jordan, Chief Operating Officer of The Forks, quipped that they had to really thank a very special sponsor, namely the Assiniboine River, which this year is cooperating. "The barge is already constructed. So it's only through the good graces of the Assiniboine River that we're able to get back out there," he said.