The RFF announces a line-up five decades in the making

Music | by Stephen Whitworth

Ruth B.

As far as I know, I was at the Regina Folk Festival’s 50th anniversary launch party on Wednesday night. I mean, I can’t tell you for sure, because I’m writing this on Tuesday, the day before I was (probably) there.

That’s a cool thing about newspapers: they travel through time to reach future readers. What wonders have you Futurians seen two days from now that the people of my era can only imagine? Flying cars? Interstellar travel? Awesome sex robots? Hey, how’s Betty White? We folks of the past love her.

One thing I share with you People Of Tomorrow, however, is knowledge of the highly epic 2019 Folk Festival. Thanks to an embargoed press release, I also know about the RFF line-up that includes Blue Rodeo, A Tribe Called Red, Ruth B, Charlotte Day Wilson, Bahamas, Rae Spoon, Jason Isbell, The Dead South, Emilie Kahn, Amanda Shires, and a lot more than I have room to list.

I spoke with Regina Folk Festival overlord Sandra Butel about this year’s five-decade extravaganza via text. Think it’s the first interview I’ve done that way. Fun! I’ve edited our conversation for length, though not necessarily for nonsense.

Going into this, what did you want from a 50th anniversary lineup?

I wanted something that honoured our past all while being true to who we are today and who we want to become tomorrow. Diversity in terms of ages of artists, demographic of audience, gender balance, LGBTQ+, cultural diversity, etc.

The familiar names are to give festival people a treat of seeing their favourites — or remembering their favourite festival moments — by bringing back seasoned artists who have been part of the festival before.

Did you made any big changes to your schedule to fit more headliners?

Nope, I just had to convince headliners to go on earlier in the night so we can have more each night. It’s interesting; this year we have as many headliners as the Winnipeg Folk Festival — a lot less artists for sure, as they book twice as many as us — but as far as headliners, we have as many as them. That’s a pretty big deal for our more intimate festival.

Is there an artist you were surprised to book?

I am really pleased with quite a few of the artists on the bill this year. One I was surprised to add — a last-minute addition — was Ruth B. She was someone I had on my radar a while back, but she kind of fell out of my database. This is one of the first folk festivals she will play so I was pretty happy this happened.

How many more artists are you likely to add?

We will have about 10 more, for sure. More Sask artists, and one more main stage artist to confirm.  And then we have all those special 50th birthday projects to announce!

“All the things!!!”

Yes, that is it: “all the things!!!” 50 is a good age you know? It’s really when we start to reach our full potential!

The Regina Folk Festival runs August 9–11 in Victoria Park. The RFF Lovers sale continues to March 20. For more ticket information, visit