$78,000 In Downtown BIZ Funding To Stimulate 15 New Events Downtown & Attract An Additional 56,000 People To The City’s Core


August 18, 2015


Downtown Winnipeg – What do ribs, yoga, and elevators have in common? They are but a few of event themes and components that Winnipeggers will enjoy downtown in 2015, courtesy of new funding provided through the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. Today, events like the Wall-to-Wall, BBQ & Blues Festival, Aboriginal Music Week, and RibFest have received nearly $78,000 in funding from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s newly launched Host It Downtown Program. Announced in June of this year, $150,000 in funding was available for events in 2015 and 2016. With $78,000 now allocated to 15 events, a second call of applications is being solicited for the remaining $72,000, to support 10-20 more events and attract additional visits, bringing the total amount of festival-goers in the downtown to well over a million annually. Collectively, all 15 events will inject an investment of $1.8 million in economic spending in the city, expects an attendance of 56,000 people, and will support close to 80 downtown businesses in their event plans – helping bolster local sales and keeping wealth in the community and expanding on downtown’s unique footprint as the place for festivals and events.

Host It Downtown aims to solidify downtown Winnipeg as the premier destination for high-quality and outdoor events year-round – by providing individuals or organizations with the opportunity for seed funding and event support; creating new events and attracting existing events to the heart of our city. Downtown event-goers will see the following 14 events downtown (one event not ready to announce) that meet the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s broader goals of increased outdoor, evening and winter programming:

  • BBQ & Blues Festival: This two-day event, once held at Shaw Park, will be relocated to Smith St., and will feature over 20 bands that play a variety of styles of blues and rock, an artisans’ village, food vendors, and barbeque and other food demonstrations.
  • Interstellar Rodeo: A three-day music and wine festival, originating in Edmonton, will make its way to Downtown Winnipeg. Interstellar Rodeo is a roots/alternative festival that features performances by Sarah McLachlan, Vance Joy, and Blue Rodeo.
  • 2K Dangle: A fun run for hockey fans of all ages and skill levels will see participants run and stickhandle a ball for 2 kilometers starting at Memorial Park then ending at Manitoba’s Legislative Building.
  • Downtown ARTery: Downtown ARTery will transform the entire stretch of Graham Ave. from the WAG to 201 Portage into a corridor of light and art. It will dramatically change both the distribution of Nuit Blanche Winnipeg activities and Winnipeggers’ experience of this underutilized area, while highlighting a variety of local artists and performers.
  • National Elevator Project: As part of FemFest, the National Elevator Project will see a series of short plays performed for audiences inside moving elevators located throughout downtown. A spontaneous dance party will also transform an elevator into a moving dance club complete with lights and sound.
  • Aboriginal Music Week: Aboriginal Music Manitoba Inc. will host for the first-time a series of four free noon hour concerts at Air Canada Park in August to challenge stereotypes about Aboriginal music, people, and events; develop Aboriginal youth as an audience for live music; provide professional performance opportunities for Aboriginal artists, and to expose the public to the work of Aboriginal songwriters from across Canada.
  • Peg City St. Patrick’s Day Parade: A sea of people in green will walk, march, and jig throughout downtown in the March of the Emerald Parade. Floats, balloons, puppets, wagons, walkers, dancers and Leprechauns will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
  • RibFest: This two-day event will feature delicious eats by Smoking Hawg BBQ Co. and music by Slip’D Disc, as well as a silent auction, 50/50 draw, a beer garden, and festival stage at The Forks.
  • Snowflake: Snowflake is a winter urban wellness retreat that will nourish and inspire in the cold prairie winter. The event offers participants rejuvenation, inspiration, and connection to their community through an offering of wellness workshops and inspiring activities to choose from. Yoga with renowned teachers from across the country, creative workshops, inspired speakeasy session, outdoor adventures, live music and entertainment, vendor village.
  • Spaceland: A one-day block party inspired by SXSW, Spaceland will take over an urban dead zone and fill it with music and people, facilitating a collective reimagining of public space. Food trucks, a small beer garden, eight of the city’s hottest up-and-coming bands and two national headliners, and creative placemaking, will make Spaceland an exciting new addition to the city’s musical landscape.
  • Day of the Dead Festival: This traditional Mexican holiday and cultural celebration will feature skull decorating/colouring and skeleton making, Day of the Dead mascots (la Catrin and la Catrina) and invites the public to participate in a Day of the Dead Alter, a way to honour the memory of Mexican ancestors.
  • Salsa Sundays: Salsa Sundays attracts an average 500 plus people, providing Winnipeg residents, young and old and of multiple ethnic backgrounds, the opportunity to dance to the very best recorded Latin dance music, free of charge.
  • Wall-to-Wall II: Wall-to-Wall is a mural and culture festival that sees the creation of indoor and outdoor murals. Each new work of art is celebrated with unique events. Wall-to-Wall II will expand beyond West Broadway, the birthplace of the festival, to Downtown, with an exterior mural launched at Fools & Horses Coffee Co.
  • MEME Winter Electronic Festival: Held on the frozen Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the Winter Electronic Musical Festival, will take place in a geodesic heated dome and feature music performances. An ice bar lounge, fire pits, lasers, and LED lighting are but a few of unique experiences that will welcome guests to downtown.

“50 festivals already run in the downtown, attracting well over 950,000 people annually, generating economic and social activity, activating our streets, and giving Winnipeggers great reasons to come downtown,” says Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “Host It Downtown looks to build on this energy and attract even more visits into the heart of our city, with a greater focus on evening and winter. When people visit the downtown at all hours of the day, we are sure to see a more revitalized core and a local economy supported with a greater economic spend.”

“A major music event in the heart of downtown has been long overdue in this music city; our very first Interstellar Rodeo would not have been possible without our amazing community partners. We are thankful to the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ for their support through the Host It Downtown program, and for sharing their passion for music and fun times,” says Sara Stasiuk, Director of Operations of Six Shooter Records and Interstellar Rodeo.

“With the support of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, we are going to be able to expand our mural and culture festival, Wall-to-Wall, into the core of Winnipeg,” says first-time downtown event organizers, Chloe Chafe and Andrew Eastman. “Our festival aims to not only beautify our city, but also to democratize art by incorporating it into the everyday lives of the public. By partnering with several community organizations, local businesses, artists, and entertainers, we are cultivating and strengthening our community from a grassroots level and putting Winnipeg on the map as a player in the exciting street art movement that is taking over the world.”

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is soliciting applications from event organizers for the first round of Host It Downtown funding. Deadline for submissions is September 30, 2015. For more information, visit: http://downtownwinnipegbiz.com/programs-services/host-it-downtown/.

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For more information, please contact:
Jason Syvixay, Managing Director
Tel: (204) 958-4635; Email: jason@downtownwinnipegbiz.com

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