It’s exactly what it sounds like.
But actually it’s a winter music festival here in Winnipeg that hosted like over forty bands in a handful of venues last weekend. It was pretty nuts. It was the first time I’ve felt like I’m at a festival in the middle of winter. Like, at the type of festival where I can start drinking wine at 11 a.m. and it’s totally acceptable. Like the kind of festival where I walk from one stage to the other halfway through bands to catch my favourite acts.
There’s quite a range of music types at Big Fun. Maybe more than any other festival I’ve been to recently. Close contender with Shine On. It was a big mix of local talent this year, from 3PEAT to The OB to Living Hour and Hatia.
I’ve never shot a hip hop show until the Sherb on Friday night for Big Fun. It was pretty nuts. 3PEAT is an incredible group of artists, I could tell right away. It was like they held an open dialogue with the crowd. They were super energetic, spittin’ rhymes and moving around the stage like no one’s business. Even tone, the way sound shot from their mouths, like they were speaking with some delicate force, it really brought the energy up in the room.
The Sherb felt like a dirty spot for a show. I’ve never seen a gig there before, but I have been to many a dive bar in Winnipeg and it fits right in there, no problem. There was a lot of space for dancing and shit, which people did, but I found I kept getting trapped (along with others) right in front of the speakers and it hurt.
I think the vibe worked for the show, though. Different venues carried a lot of different energy at this festival, beause the music was so different. The WECC on Saturday night brought a fair bit of energy, but it was pretty youthful stuff, with some younger people in the crowd, and with a hipster vibe, thanks to the alt-rock on stage most of the night.
Urban Vacation surprised me a bit with their talents. They sounded very groovy, and I remember sensing a bit of a psychedelic influence, and maybe a touch of a jazz influence in their tone or writing. It was like I felt caught off-gaurd during their set because they had some really fat, groovy bass licks and played really well together as a band.
The classic Winnipeg band Mise En Scene followed these guys. They had a pretty elaborate stage set up, and I loved it. worked out well for photos. I’ve seen Mise En Scene a few times now, and they’re pretty good. I have to admit I’m not an instant fan, but I really dig the spunk of the lead lady in that band. Her voice is great, and the way she performs is great, and she really brings these guys into a different place musically. I know Corey and Dave, the strings dudes in the band, play with each other a lot, so it’s neat to see someone else’s influence take control in terms of songwriting.
I ran from the WECC to the Good Will to catch Mulligrub and Slow Spirit. It was an interesting night, becasue I wasn’t the only one running around. Natalie and Julien of Slow Spirit were also playing with Living Hour, back to back.
I had asked Riley when Mulligrub was supposed to play. He said 9:30, or grub o’clock.
Mulligrub played a solid set. I’d only seen them perform once before, so it was nice to get to know their music better. I love Kelly’s voice and the way they arrange their songs. It seems a touch simple sometimes, especially having only three instruments on stage, but they make some catchy, meaningful tunes out of it. I was trying to listen to the lyrics on this night too, and there seemed to be some pretty powerful stuff in there. I wasn’t able to stay for the whole set, though.
I ran over to the WECC like halfway through to try and catch Living Hour for a bit. Adam Soloway had let me know (when I asked politely) how long they planned to play. He said he only told me cause I’m a photographer and probably can use that knowledge. And I did. and I came into the WECC on their fourth last song and nearly started spouting tears of joy and glitter and happiness and rainbows out every pore on my body.
But for real, I got pretty damn excited to see them play. They filled out the stage unlike any other band that night. They’ve been touring worldwide, so I think they have pretty flexible arrangement in terms of filling a space. They looked really good. and they sounded amazing. and I took some of my favourite photos of all time. And they played an encore!
I wish I had a chance to see more music. I had gotten a weekend pass, but I also had to do a fuck ton of work that weekend, and I missed the show I was really looking forward to with Basic Nature and Mahogany Frog.
I was curious to see what the overall culture was like of the festival. I had attended maybe one show last year, and it was pretty good, but I didn’t get a sense of the overall event. This year I went to a handful of shows, including Hannah Epperson, Hatia, the WECC, the Good Will and the Sherb on Friday night. It seemed to really shift from place to place, like there wasn’t a cohesive overall feel for the festival. This might be because all the different genres of music bring in different audiences.
Overall, though, it seemed people picked up on the being sort of drunk most of the weekend and staying up later than they should each night. So, overall, successful festival.