Organizers behind the Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival are hoping to bring musical performances to your living room this winter.

Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival is giving Manitobans the opportunity to enjoy a series of free, local concerts at its first-ever Spirit of Manitoba Winter Concert Series & Open Mic Night -- thanks to a grant from the Safe at Home Manitoba Program, which supports community initiatives aimed at engaging and connecting Manitobans.

Festival artistic director Josh Wright touches on how to tune in.

"It will be streamed on our social media platforms. So, YouTube and Facebook, and using the software called StreamYard, where musicians interested in performing in the open mic or comedians or poets can tune in with a link if they register in advance," says Wright. "It's all going to be up on our website with the details of the event."

There will be six virtual shows held on Saturday evenings between mid-January and late March. Entertainment will feature art media performances like music, comedy, and poetry. Wright says they considered using Zoom, but it wasn't viable.

"There's going to be so many people tuning in to the event, we're just going to have the musician and the host on stage. Then the people looking to take part in the open-mic after the concert will be on the screen at one time," says Wright. "Audience members can watch from their own homes and use the chat on social media to engage with the artist if they have any questions or song requests."

Prior to the open mic portion, a Manitoba singer will grace the crowd for an hour. More information on the artists will be revealed when Whoop and Hollar announces the line-up next week. Wright says they're already drumming up ideas for the summer festival.

"At this time, we can't disclose any particular format that we will run the festival, just because of the uncertainty around the pandemic, and we have to work with public health closely," he says. "We have a couple of event ideas in mind, and we're hoping to do the drive-in event if we can. But, if we have to go virtual or do a different version of a physical event if public health restrictions lift, then we'll consider it in time."

Whoop & Hollar’s virtual concert and open mic series proposal was selected alongside entries submitted by Folklorama and Festival du Voyageur, among others. Wright explains the importance of holding such an event this winter.

“Since Manitobans are still unable to safely come together to throw live concerts, open mics, and festivals for the foreseeable future, we felt it was time to come up with the next best alternative that will hopefully bring some joy and inspiration to both the creators and consumers of our local music scene.”

The Spirit of Manitoba Winter Concert Series & Open Mic Night is free to attend and runs January 16 and 30, February 13 and 27, and March 13 and 27 from 7-10 p.m. The performer lineup is slated to be announced next week and more details (including open mic registration) will be available at