Manitoba

Cold showers, sunscreen and granola bars: Folk Festival fans heeding heat warnings

Fans attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival appear to be heeding heat warnings in place for southern Manitoba, where temperatures are expected to peak around 33 C Saturday afternoon.

Winnipeg-area festival remains vigilant about safety following tragedy near western Manitoba event

It was 28 C at noon at the Winnipeg Folk Festival site in Birds Hill Park. The high Saturday is forecast to be 33 C. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

Fans attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival appear to be heeding heat warnings in place for southern Manitoba, where temperatures are expected to peak around 33 C Saturday afternoon.

Upwards of 10,000 paying fans are expected in Birds Hill Park, northeast of Winnipeg, to attend the folk festival, one of the largest outdoor summer festivals in the province.

Officials and volunteers are exercising increased vigilance about safety in general following the death of 24-year-old Winnipegger Danny Kidane near Dauphin's Countryfest, a July long weekend event held near Riding Mountain National Park in western Manitoba.

His body was found in a creek near the festival site, according to RCMP.

Winnipeg Folk Festival executive director Lynne Skromeda said no major incidents of any sort have been reported at the Birds Hill Park event so far this weekend.

Festival-goers took advantage of showers right after the gate to the site opened at 11 a.m. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

Volunteer site safety crews conduct well-being checks on festival-goers, she said.

"One of the things they have been trained to do is look out for people, tell them to make sure they're drinking water, tell them to make sure they're looking after themselves and if they see someone in distress, they can radio for help," she said.

Winnipegger Michelle Phaneuf, who is attending her third festival, said it is easy for festival-goers to forget about the potential for heat exhaustion, especially if they imbibe alcohol.

"I don't think people do deal with it very well. I think you get caught up in the music, you get comfortable and you forget — and you don't drink enough water," said Phaneuf after wetting her hair in an outdoor shower near the festival's entrance.

Festival volunteer Joyce Kehler Hildebrand said she and her friends wander through the campground on their own volition to hand out sunscreen and granola bars to younger fans "who don't have moms" and require some advice.

"We show up and try to mom them and try to tell them to drink their water and eat their food. Sometimes you're just so darn so happy you survived the winter, you just want to dance and forget about weather for a bit," she said.

The festival continues through Sunday. Indigenous electronic outfit A Tribe Called Red headlines the festival mainstage Saturday night.

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