Big Fun! / by Greg Gallinger

Last week I had the pleasure of shooting the Big Fun Music Festival. I got to shoot in three different venues around Winnipeg, including The Ballroom, which I didn't even know existed.

From Big Fun's website:

"Using Winnipeg’s prairie winter as the backdrop, the festival will showcase the best of Manitoba’s current and upcoming artists as well as some hand picked acts from across Canada. The Big Fun Festival wants to give the people of Winnipeg a reprieve to the brutal winter by organizing a unique and exciting weekend of events in the bitterly cold stretch of our darkest month."

I can definitely get behind their mission. It can be a daunting task to even think about leaving the comfort of your own home when it's 40 below. The cold and the wind and the cost and the energy weigh down on you, pulling you deeper into your couch cushions. But along comes a music festival in the dead of winter to coax you from hibernation.

Every show was well attended, so they must be doing something right.


My personal highlights were Warsaw follwed by Metz on Thursday night at Union Sound Hall. Even though I was being repeatedly shoved into the stage, holding my gear for dear life and fending off flailing throngs of testosterone, I had a blast. My plan was to get some shots from up near stage left, then wander to the opposite side and get some shots from behind the crowd. That's not how it went down though. As soon as Metz struck the first chord, the crowd erupted, I squeezed my way to the front and was then pinned against the stage until the house lights came up. Luckily it was the best shooting angle I could have been forced to stick with. On the musical side, I loved how Metz's entire set seemed like one long performance. I dont' remember their being even a moment of silence between songs as they were all weaved together with feedback and ringing notes and distortion. Props to sound guy Cam Loeppky for manning the board that night.

The other standout performance was B.A. Johnston, who brought his deep fried comedy rock to the Windsor Hotel. Johnston started and ended his performance in the bathroom, which he proclaimed made the Albert's urine soaked salle de bain seem like paradise.

You can see many of my photos from Big Fun in Stylus, in the Winnipeg Free Press, and on Flickr.