In September 2010 Canada’s national culture festival came to Flin Flon on a grand scale. From the outset festival coordinator Crystal Kolt was determined to go big or go home and to bring a cultural celebration to Flin Flon that would showcase the full range of talents to be found up here.
The end result did Flin Flon proud, as the community came together to create a festival that rivaled those held in cities 100 times the size of Flin Flon. It was by far the largest Culture Days event held in Manitoba that year outside of Winnipeg, featuring 3 full days of events all across the cultural spectrum.
Culture Days was launched, fittingly enough, with an opening ceremony organized by the local Friendship Centre, that featured an Aboriginal Drumming group from Cranberry Portage, hoop dancers from Creighton, and several other groups of young performers, including the Fiddlesticks from Churchill. Aboriginal culture was well represented throughout the festival, with participation by visual artists such as Irvin Head, and performances from Metis musician Ron Burwash, and two ongoing aboriginal art activity stations that demoed such traditional aboriginal artforms as beading, birchbark biting and animal tufting.
The first day of the festival was strongly youth-oriented, with a series of “Superstar!” events featuring hands-on workshops in Theatre, Mask Making, Hip-Hop Dance performance, and even filmmaking.
There were several showings by local visual artists, and several put on open houses that turned into an art studio tour of Flin Flon and its satellite communities. Local writers showcased their works at a writing station and a special limited edition of local writings was created specifically for Culture Days. There was even an outdoor story-telling tour down Main Street conducted by Vincent Murphy, and Flin Flon’s first dancing flash mob, that also proceeded down Main Street gyrating to the strains of KNA’AN’s “Waving Flag”
Don’t believe us? Click here for proof (Youtube video)
Culture Days in Flin Flon also featured an incredible variety of music and musicians, ranging from world-class (but Thompson-based) opera singer Maria Luz Alvarez, a brilliant classical pianist, the Fiddlesticks (a youth violin group from Churchill), the Coppertones, the Flin Flon Community choir, a virtuoso violinist/keyboardist that performed in at least 10 different musical genres (and with at least 10 different groups/performers!) in the course of the festival, Crooked Jack from The Pas, the local pop and classic rock duo Brent and Susan Lethbridge, Pantyhose, Katrina Windjack, renowned local Elvis interpreter Terry Pshebnicki, and other performances that ran the gamut from medieval lite to country to Celtic to Metis to pop and rock, including a “Seismic Rock” battle of the garage bands that Saturday night.
It all ended off with the biggest fashion show ever held in Flin Flon.
Flin Flon’s Culture Days received notice in the national media for its extraordinary level of local participation and for a roster of events and performances that would have put Calgary or Edmonton to shame.
Although it was only possible thanks to funding from several other sources, the hard work of many different local artists, performers, and community organizations, and a truly dedicated event coordinator, Culture Days represents by far the most elaborate performing arts event ever seen in Northern Manitoba (and ever supported by the FFNRC). It brought the “community connecting” process here to a totally new level.