Regina sucks! This is a mantra I used to hear, growing up. Kids my age were generally sad (and somewhat misinformed) that there was little to nothing going on in Regina. To be fair, there used to be far less going on than there is now.
I don’t hear these exact words anymore (different vibe, different tribe perhaps), but Regina has still seems to have a reputation for being an uneventful small town, among some of the people who live here, but definitely among people in bigger centers.
We know better. There’s Cathedral Village Arts Festival (one of the largest arts festivals in Canada, by the way), Mosaic, Fringe Fest, Bazaart, Market Under The Stars, a plethora of arts trade shows each year, not to mention so much live music, you constantly have to pick which shows you can make and which you have to skip, every single night of the week. For a relatively small city, we’ve go a lot of music and art going on!
Well, it’s time again for my personal favourite of several well-liked annual arts events: Regina Folk Festival is just a few short days away! This festival is just lovely! I pretty much walk around like a big, dumb kid, with a big ol’ smile on my face, the whole time! You see dozens of artists, big-and-small, there are free workshops throughout the weekend, people are dancing, there’s yet another big arts market, you run into people you haven’t seen in ages, or people you only seem to see at Folk Fest (looking at you, Echo), and you get to do it all outside, in our quaint little Victoria Park, right downtown! I’m smiling already.
Each year, I see some ill-equipped, lovely festival goers, so this one is for you!
As is tradition (see the RFF SG from 2016, 2015, https://wpitcjtr.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/what-planet-is-this-presents-regina-folk-fest-survival-guide-2014/, https://wpitcjtr.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/what-planet-is-this-presents-regina-folk-fest-survival-guide-2013/, https://wpitcjtr.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/what-planet-is-this-presents-regina-folk-fest-survival-guide-2012/), here is your 2017 Regina Folk Fest Survival Guide…
Use these experience-based tips to help aid what will already be a great time!
In order of importance:
Show up expecting a good time, but don’t just wait for it to come to you. A smile and a little kindness go a long way to making this festival what it is. Help someone out, if you can. Clean up after someone, if you spot something. Hug a volunteer (seriously, they’re awesome). Sing, laugh, dance, make new friends. This is exactly the time and the place!
- Water Bottle
This festival has free water refill stations at the west an east sides of the park! That’s kind of a big deal. In contrast, I was recently at the Queen City Ex, where there were no water refill stations, no where will just give you water, and apparently, the only fountains on the entire grounds are hidden cleverly within a single public washroom. Gross and wtf? At RFF, you never have to worry about running low on water, and bottles are filled separately from where hands are washed! Bring a bottle!
- Hippy Pack
Bring some kind of easy-to-carry canvas bag thing, backpack, whatever. Not only will you need to store your water bottle and camera, but Folk Fest program, plastic bags / tarp – if needed, sunblock, and sweet sweet merch! You are going to attain some new favourite artists, and you will not be able to resist buying their latest effort.
This used to be at the top of every list for me. I’m big on Folk Fest pictures each year, and I’m a film buff, so any excuse is good enough for me, and this is a very photogenic festival. I’ve bumped it down for the first time, only because I think cell phone cameras may have actually caught up. Some of those fancy new whathaveyous take pretty stunning pictures – I have to admit. However, if you’re like me and have only an adequate celly, take the extra weight of a real camera – the results are still worth it!
Regina’s a small town, man. Take a bike. Besides, Regina Folk Fest has a bike valet! How is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever heard of? I get it, biking downtown from some parts of town (especially at the end of the night), is not super appealing, but if this seems like a viable option for you, I highly recommend it. Great way to get around, and great way to keep you in a good mood for this happy vibe festival.
- Appropriate Clothing
Wear a hat, bring a rain jacket – you know you’ll need the former, and the latter is just good planning. Shorts/dress – whatever is nice and light, but not so light that you’re freezing by the end of the night.
Always mentioned last on this list, but always mentioned. You can enjoy this festival all weekend long without one thin dime (something I did for years, in my university days). There are free shows and workshops throughout the weekend, you’ll bump into buddies, there’s free water… you’ll have a blast! Just bring your own snacks. To really take advantage of the weekend, though, you’ll want merch, you’ll want coffee/drinks, and you will be way too tempted by the festival grub. As I said, I’ve managed a zero sum, but I’ve also dropped a pretty penny, as I have no problem buying merch directly from artists, and I have a weak will around curry.
That’s pretty much all you’d want or need to “survive” this festival. Hope to see you in the park this weekend! If you see me (the dude in the photo above), come say hi. Let me know what you love about Folk Fest, or what you would add to this guide. Or, if you’re shy, just post it in the comments on this post.