A post-pandemic renaissance or revival of creativity, new music, and songwriting is coming to the Portage area. 

Whoop and Hollar is coming to our area again, and the lineup is in.  Artistic director Josh Wright outlines what's taking place.

"There's a variety of artists from across Manitoba and the Portage region who will be performing, as well as some artists from outside Manitoba who we're excited to showcase this summer," says Wright. "The furthest artists travel from Toronto and the Ottawa region, but we have a few artists on our lineup like Bobby Dove, Onna Lou and Rob Knaggs who have recently put down roots in Manitoba from other countries. They're new to the music scene, so they have connections to Argentina (that's Onna Lou), Brisbane, Australia, (and that's Rob Knaggs' musical act.)"

Wright notes Bobby Dove is an established folk artist from Montreal who recently moved to Brandon and is coming out to showcase Manitoba.

He explains this year they've got their regular palette of folk, blues and roots music, for which they're quite known as a festival. 

"And then we've also got some country, flamenco, Latin pop, jazz, new wave music, pop, and world fusion," continues Wright. "World fusion a little bit of funk and soul. So, it's a wide variety of music this year to keep everybody entertained." 

Josh and LindaJosh Wright and Linda Omichinski

Jérémy and the Delicious Hounds, which ends Saturday, are funk and soul and R&B, and they're an eight-piece band. 

Wright adds experimental instrumental music on cello takes place with Rob Knaggs. 

"So, quite a variety of music and flamenco and dancing -- like dancing in the art form -- to go along with the performance of the musical experience," says Wright. "That's something we're trying this year. Some Métis fiddle music with an emerging artist, Morgan Grace, from East Selkirk. She's 15-years-old and a virtuoso on fiddle, and reviving traditional Métis tunes for the younger market. And that's something that we're excited to showcase as well. Then several Indigenous acts, and we have the local component."

He says the local component includes Will Ben with the Roadside Prophets.

"Through the pandemic, he went through a difficult time," says Linda Omichinski, festival organizer. "He actually had COVID, and through that inspiration and creativity came out. He has some new songs to showcase with his band. As well as Ila Barker and her roots are from Oakville, Manitoba, and she's a wonderful singer/songwriter who will take the stage on Saturday."

Wright says they have a workshop that's returning to the festival this year.

"Now that we can get artists performing together in one space on the same stage, our High Gravity Stew Brew Fusion Workshop featuring Scott Nolan," adds Wright. "He's a better-known folk artist as well as Onna Lou, the Argentine Canadian singer-songwriter, and Taylor Abrahamse, who's a singer, songwriter, and kind of a hammer-claw pop artist, as he bills himself, from Toronto. He's doing a little tour out west and has never performed in Manitoba. He's going to be part of that workshop along with our local musicians, Chris Messeytone and Gareth Rice, who are regulars at our workshop."

He explains that's going to be a fusion experience where the artists play in rotation to each other's songs and it's kind of like an on-stage jam where people can hear music never to be heard before in that combination. 

"A collaborative effort. It's a one-time performance of that music and they're going to be playing that for about an hour set," notes Wright. 

Omichinski adds their early bird tickets are up until mid-June.

"If anyone is interested in buying and coming to the festival, but they're wondering how to get there, we are bringing back our free shuttle," continues Omichinski. "So, they can get a ride at scheduled times from Herman Prior Activity Centre right to the festival site out in the country, and back. Also, if people are wanting to camp and they have a big trailer, knowing we can't have big trailers at our 4-acre acreage, they are welcome to camp at the Island Park as the shuttle will go to Island Park. They could come to the festival and return via the shuttle as well."

Wright says tent camping is available on site for people with a weekend pass who purchase the whole-meal deal for the festival. This year's festival is for two days -- the Saturday and Sunday.  

Click here for full lineup.