News / Winnipeg

Rainbow Trout Music Festival stays small, despite growing demand

Local headliners at this year's Oroseau Campground festival include 3PEAT, A La Mode and ATLAAS.

Sarah Leeson-Klym, a Rainbow Trout Music Festival board member.

Rachel Cox photo

Sarah Leeson-Klym, a Rainbow Trout Music Festival board member.

This isn’t your parents’ folk festival.

Local organizers behind the Rainbow Trout Music Festival (RTMF) - now in its ninth year - have stayed true to their DIY roots by keeping their festival small, despite increasing demand for weekend passes.

The volunteer-driven outdoor festival is expected to attract over 900 attendees again this weekend, to the Oroseau Campground just south of St. Malo. They will come to see over 25 local Manitoba-based indie musicians, artists and vendors.

Full weekend/camping passes are sold out, and have done so within an hour each year, explained RTMF Board Member Natasha Havrilenko.

“We’ve been asked why we don’t add more campsites, get more volunteers, or move the festival to a different location to accommodate more people,” she acknowledged. “We want to make sure to cap (weekend passes) at a certain number each year, so people don’t feel overcrowded or overwhelmed. We don’t want to make the festival so big that we lose that community, or family, vibe that we strive for,” she said.

“I think that’s the special factor to it. There are other music festivals you could go to that can be more chaotic and they almost appeal to the masses, more so. I feel that with smaller-scale festivals like ours, a true positive aspect of them is that they are small in nature.”

RTMF day passes will still be available Friday to Sunday ranging from $25 to $45. They will be sold cash-only at the festival gate.

Local and visiting musicians and bands to watch for include Selci, Jenny Berkel, Slow Spirit and Veneer, said Havrilenko.

“We would like to continue with increasing our gender parity; that was a concept this year,” she said. “Getting more female-led bands on stage, or at least bands that have a female musician in them. So just trying to give voice for more female musicians to come play our festival.”

The grounds are on the banks of the tubing-friendly Roseau River. “We also have a natural springs - sort of a swimming hole in the middle of the campground. It’s shallow and perfect for cooling down,” she said.

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