Seventh Man­ito Ah­bee Fes­ti­val big­ger, bet­ter, GM prom­ises

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - BRAD OSWALD

IT’S the seventh-an­nual Man­ito Ah­bee Fes­ti­val. And the event’s or­ga­niz­ers are ea­ger to con­firm — par­tic­u­larly to the young students in­volved in its outreach pro­grams — that it won’t be the last.

“The theme of the fes­ti­val this year is ‘Prophecy,’ and what we’re try­ing to do is put ev­ery­one’s mind at ease re­gard­ing the Mayan/Aztec cal­en­dar and the no­tion that the world’s go­ing to end (in 2012),” Man­ito Ah­bee gen­eral man­ager Glo­ria Spence says. “It’s not true. So we have an in­di­vid­ual com­ing in from Cal­i­for­nia who is go­ing to speak at the ed­u­ca­tion days about that, and about what the Mayan cal­en­dar re­ally means.”

The guest speaker, Hec­tor Perez-Pacheco, will ap­pear at the fes­ti­val’s youth ed­u­ca­tion gath­er­ing, as well as other events, with a mes­sage that the muchdis­cussed end-of-days sce­nario is not an ac­cu­rate re­flec­tion of what the Mayans pre­dicted.

“It’s a mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion,” says Spence. “The world is not go­ing to end in De­cem­ber 2012.”

When asked if she or Perez-Pacheco — or, for that mat­ter, the Mayans — have an­other pre­dic­tion for Earth’s demise, Spence can only laugh. “Uh, no.” Armed with the knowl­edge that this won’t be a farewell tour for any­one in­volved, Spence is ea­ger to dis­cuss plans for the 2012 Man­ito Ah­bee Fes­ti­val, which she de­scribes as the big­gest and best yet. The fes­ti­val runs from Wed­nes­day’s of­fi­cial kick­off (10:30 a.m., Fair­mont Ho­tel) to the con­clu­sion of the In­dige­nous Mar­ket­place and Trade Show on Sun­day evening; its mar­quee events are the 7th An­nual Abo­rig­i­nal Peo­ples Mu­sic Awards (Fri­day at 7 p.m., MTS Cen­tre) and the In­ter­na­tional Com­pe­ti­tion Pow Wow (Satur­day and Sun­day, MTS Cen­tre).

“We are now the No. 2 pow­wow in North Amer­ica, ac­cord­ing to Pow­Wows.com,” she ex­plains. “We’re sec­ond only to the Gath­er­ing of Nations in Al­bu­querque, N.M., and their pow­wow has been go­ing for 28 years. With us be­ing only in our seventh year, we’re pretty proud of that.

“We have peo­ple from all over North Amer­ica com­ing to com­pete; last year at our first Grand En­try, we had over 1,200 dancers, which is huge. And we ex­pect a sim­i­lar num­ber this year.”

Spence says that in­ter­est in the APCMAs has also in­creased steadily, as ev­i­denced by the num­ber of artists sub­mit­ting work for con­sid­er­a­tion and the on­line vot­ing by fans to de­ter­mine the win­ners.

Peren­nial host Lorne Car­di­nal ( Cor­ner Gas, Arc­tic Air) re­turns as the awards show’s MC, this time han­dling the job as a solo act.

“He’s a huge fan of the fes­ti­val, and he looks for­ward to do­ing the show ev­ery year,” says Spence.

Spence says she’s par­tic­u­larly pleased with this year’s choice for the APCMAs’ life­time achieve­ment award, Far North mu­sic pi­o­neer Louie Goose.

“He’s a res­i­den­tial-school sur­vivor; it was in that school, in fact, that he cre­ated his band, the Macken­zie Delta Band, and they’re still to­gether,” she says. “They’re still huge celebri­ties — he’s like the Elvis of the North.... He was a trail­blazer in mu­sic in the North.

“A few of the (band’s) mem­bers have passed on, but the re­main­ing ones are com­ing to the MTS Cen­tre and are go­ing to per­form at the show. It’s a huge, huge thing for us — we want them to be as pop­u­lar in the rest of Canada as they are in the North, and we’re hop­ing this will help that hap­pen.”

This year’s In­dige­nous Mar­ket­place and Trade Show, which takes place Satur­day and Sun­day at MTS Cen­tre, will of­fer an ex­panded ros­ter of crafters and ar­ti­sans.

“We’ve sold more booths this year than ever be­fore,” Spence says. Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 MTS Cen­tre and other venues

Tick­ets avail­able at Tick­et­mas­ter

Man­ito Ah­bee Fes­ti­val in­cludes

mu­sic per­for­mances and awards (above) and a wide va­ri­ety of

cul­tural cel­e­bra­tions.

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