This summer marks a decade for the Whoop and Hollar Folk Festival and the organization is gearing up for the milestone with fundraising celebrations. Their December dinner and music evening featuring Winnipeg folk-pop group Red Moon Road was a hit with the audience and Artistic Director Josh Wright says the success is a reflection of their overall vision for the festival.

"Some organizations focus on money or "x" numbers in attendance, but we measure our growth over the last ten years in community impact and our strong collaborations in the community". 

Wright extends his thanks to the community for ten great years of supporting the local arts and music scene, recognizing the huge volunteer effort that drives the event. He points out the fundraising events not only support the festival, but help bring more nightlife, culture and spirit to downtown portage.

"It's been a personal dream of mine, as well as one shared by our festival, to have opportunities in Portage to listen to some high-end entertainment while enjoying a nice meal and beverage in a premium setting. When you look at Stratford, Ontario, or Penticton, BC, my thoughts are why can't Portage la Prairie offer the same vibrant experiences as other smaller cities? And not only for local citizens but for tourists and performing artists who seek out those places." 

Festival Organizer Linda Omichinski describes the Grand evening in December as a highlight of the winter season and a great kickoff to festival preparations. She extends her thanks to the performers and guests. 

"They had a standing ovation. It was really special and the vibe that was created there was very warm and welcoming." 

Omichinski is looking forward to their upcoming Grand Music evening on March 9th featuring the Raine Hamilton String Trio. She notes funds raised from these events allow them to pay their musicians fairly, keep ticket prices reasonable and offer sliding scale prices to ensure the festival is accessible for everyone. 

"Grand Music Nights are a Whoop & Hollar Folk Festival fundraiser.  All proceeds go to cover event/venue costs and support the performing artists. Anything above that goes directly to funding the work we do through the Festival and year-round programming."

The event was hosted at the Palm Court in downtown Portage and Arishya Aggarwal, CEO of Taste of Spice, says it is important for them to have meaningful partnerships with non-profit and community organizations that share their commitment to community development.