The 39th annual 2012 Winnipeg Folk Festival is clearly a huge success that has so far featured four solid nights and three full days of some of the best music in the world.
One element of the Folk Festival that is sometimes overshadowed by all this greatness is the successful Galaxie Young Performers Program. Since it’s inception in 2000, hundreds of musicians have improved their skills through this unique mentorship and performance opportunity.
Many of these young performers have grown into full fledged professional musicians who have returned to the Festival to perform as part of the main line up.
This year’s hidden gems included 41 young musicians (ages 14 to 24) from across North America, selected by by a jury of music industry professionals from a long list of applicants.
Those chosen spent an entire day (Wednesday, July 5) working with their mentors who included, Kendal Carson (of Belle Starr), Dustin Bentall, JD Edwards (Dry Bones), Justin Rutledge, Royal Wood and Natalia Zuckerman, honing their skills and preparing for their performances.
The 41 musicians, divided into five groups, each played in an hour long workshop, featured throughout the day on Friday, July 6, at the Shady Grove Stage.
As in previous years, the young musicians played impressively for the adoring crowd filled with family and friends, showing off the reasons why they are seen to hold such incredible promise.
One lucky young musician, 19-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist, Micah Erenberg of Matlock, Manitoba, playing in his third year as a young performer at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, was voted by the jury as an outstanding artist, and was awarded the prize of an Indie solid body electric guitar.
Erenberg, who was surprised to get the award, had nothing but great things to say about his fellow young performers and the program generally.
“It’s a really great program,” said Erenberg. “I got to meet a lot of other musicians from all over the place and they are all so talented.”
The Galaxie representative, who presented Erenberg with the prize guitar, had a a lot of praise for the winner, and for all the other performers.
“All of them have been great,” said the Galaxie spokesperson. “Talents beyond belief.”
As for advice for other young performers, Erenberg said, “Stay humble and stay confident. There’s so much to learn from other musicians…Everybody that you play around really has so much to show you, even if you don’t think they do.”