Friday, February 15, 2008

First full day in Winnipeg

And what a full day it was! With the aid of two drivers - Henri on the way out and Phil on the way back - I managed to get our two big boxes of t-shirts to the festival site and consigned to the care of Elise in the Souvenir Tent (making a quick stop at the bison jerky vendor on the way...).

My Man and the Francophone spent the day doing school visits, bu
t were back mid-afternoon, when we hooked up with the Photographer and went down to the concourse to find a new winter coat for me. Thankfully, our shopping trip was successful - I am newly coated, and a good thing, too, as last night was fucking freezing. (I'm afraid there's no way to describe the temperature without using an expletive - fucking is the only adjective that can adequately express how cold it was.) In the picture you can see the Francophone's breath!

When we got back to the room we had a call from our good friend the Filmmaker, who lives in Calgary but happens to also be in Winnipeg this weekend working on her show. She stopped by for half an hour with her friend Cameron, to drink some fizz, talk about the Festival and give us a quick tune on the guitar.

We'd hoped to venture out into the city for dinner, but our time was limited by the concert schedule that evening, so we ended up dining in the Fairmont's lounge bar. Their specialty is a creamy soup of locally-sourced wild rice and field mushrooms - delicious.

We spent last night at the Festival site - it's built around Fort Gibraltar, with wooden palisades and heated tents and 40 sculptors from around the world all working on enormous snow sculptures in various roped-off areas. We'll be right inside the fort tomorrow with our photo setup, but tonight was all about music.

The bands play in a couple of different tents - all huge and heated with long tables and benches and food and caribou wine (a mixture of homemade today - the menu last night featured tourtiere, beans, pancakes, maple syrup, ragout....positively drool-making.

The first band to play the guitar w wine and whisky or rum)! (Delicious but deadly.) We can't wait to eat at the siteere the D-Rangers - a fantastic bluegrass band from Winnipeg - they used it for the first couple of songs in their 90-minute set, which was held in the Cabane a sucre (Sugar Shack), where you can also buy maple syrup that has been poured onto snow and twirled onto a popsicle stick. Over at the Trading Post we met the second band of the night - Eagle and Hawk - another incredible local band who rocked the house! We're told they rarely play lived, so their presence at the festival was a special occasion. Their opening act featured a native hoop dancer - and some incredible singing and guitar playing.

We were glad to be back at the hotel by 11pm - it was so cold out by the time we left the site that all anyone wanted to do was go straight to bed.

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