By Julijana Capone
CALGARY – Real Love Summer Fest might be one of the younger, smaller, and lesser-known stops on the Manitoba festival circuit, but its distinctly chill curation and idyllic new locale for 2017 are worthy of your attention this summer.
Held on several acres of private forestland in Teulon, Manitoba (about a 30-minute drive north of Winnipeg)—a site ordinarily used for life-coaching retreats—it’s a more fitting backdrop for the four-year-old festival, and an excellent place to watch the sun set with some cold beers in tow and blissful tunes on blast.
“You’re surrounded only by trees and the beautiful prairie sky,” says festival organizer Gil Carroll, who also plays in dream-pop band Living Hour.
“The natural atmosphere is just a million times better than what we were dealing with [at the old festival site in Gimli, Manitoba], which was just two open fields.”
With a tendency towards booking the dreamier-sounding melody-makers, Captured Tracks act Widowspeak appropriately tops the bill for 2017. Their sound—a blend of nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll and atmospheric guitar work—was a perfect fit, according to Carroll.
“We’ve been fans of them for awhile,” says Carroll.
“We’re really stoked to be bringing them here. A lot of bands never really get to Winnipeg if they’re on a smaller level of touring; they often skip it over. We feel really excited to be able to bring in—in our opinion—a top-tier touring act from the States to this random small town in Manitoba.”
Also joining the lineup are Saskatoon space-rockers The Radiation Flowers, Calgary’s Fox Who Slept The Day Away, and Toronto soul-gazers Beds, among others.
Carroll also mentions Winnipeg locals like pop-punks Mulligrub; newly formed Winnipeg psych-rock supergroup Juniper Bush, consisting of members from Basic Nature, Black Cloud and Holy Void; and melancholic-pop newcomer FLOOR CRY (a.k.a. Felicia Sekundiak) as ones to watch at this year’s festival.
“[FLOOR CRY] kind of came out of left field a year or so ago, and she’s making some of my favourite music in the city right now,” says Carroll.
While attendee numbers have fluctuated over the years, Carroll says they’ve seen anywhere between 250-400 people in the past. Offering both weekend camping passes and individual day passes; he’s anticipating the new site will draw a similarly intimate crowd with camping passes being capped at 350 for the weekend.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to sell out, and hopefully it just continues to grow,” he says.
Aside from its laid-back lineup, a big part of what separates Real Love from other festivals around the province is, in part, the connections organizers have to the local Manitoba community.
Carroll and others also run a bi-monthly showcase in Winnipeg under the Real Love banner at music venue The Handsome Daughter. Over the years, the night has put a spotlight on emerging local talent, and has also served as an opportunity to discover new acts to put on the Real Love Summer Fest stage.
“We’ve been putting on shows in the city for five years now, and we play in bands and we really take the time to get to know the musicians that are performing,” he says.
“There’s definitely a cohesive community vibe to what Real Love does.”
Real Love Summer Fest runs from July 28 until July 30 on private forestland (Teulon, Manitoba). For more information and to purchase weekend camping or individual day passes, visit reallovesummerfest.com.
Real Love Summer Fest, Terminally Chill, Widowspeak