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PHOTOS: Winnipeg Folk Festival Kicks Off 38th Year

July 7, 2011 11:48 AM | Entertainment

Blue Rodeo performs at the Winnipeg Folk Festival on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. (TED GRANT / CHRISD.CA)

Despite the brief spurt of rain Wednesday evening, the first official day of the 38th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival went off without a hitch.

Thousands waited at Birds Hill Provincial Park yesterday morning for the gates to open, as the mad dash to claim a prime spot in front of the stage began.

Visitors set up camp and reacquainted each other with friends and other Folk Festival revellers that they only see once a year. Licence plates from Texas, Minnesota, Arizona and all across Canada could be seen in the parking lot as camping equipment and brightly-coloured festival wear was unloaded from trunks just past festival gates.

Always one to be green, this year’s festival includes even more environmentally-friendly initiatives to get people to and from the park, while reducing the need for as many vehicles on site as possible.

The night started with songstress Melissa McClelland, The Jayhawks, and ended with country rockers Blue Rodeo, who most people in attendance said was their main reason for coming.

MTS launched a mobile device charging station at the festival today, which will help those tweeting pics and updating their Facebook status with the latest happenings at the park to stay powered up. The station will be open to the public from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Non-MTS subscribers can also charge their devices free of charge.

Headliners Tegan and Sara perform tonight at 11 p.m. before an evening packed with a slew of other talent. See the full schedule.

The five-day festival wraps up July 10.

View the photo gallery below from Day 1.