Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Winnipeg Music Festival: Pairing Wine with Music at the Interstellar Rodeo

We have always been huge music fans, so when we had the chance to attend the Interstellar Rodeo music festival in Winnipeg last summer, we couldn’t have been more excited. With a name like Interstellar Rodeo, we weren’t quite sure what music to expect. Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few bands that we already knew and liked listed on the schedule.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Our road trip through Manitoba was planned to coincide with the festival, so we spent the weekend in Winnipeg and then made our way to Riding Mountain National Park and Spruce Woods Provincial Park. It was a fantastic week exploring Manitoba, and the festival was the perfect way to kick off the trip.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo is a three-day festival filled with great music, food, drinks and lots of fun. The festival is held at the Forks, which is right in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. You will find a unique mix of bands at the festival from genres such as soul, indie, rock and more, and the main emphasis is to feature artists “making waves in the roots and Americana world”. But, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects about the event is that the wine pairings were matched to the bands rather than the typical pairing of food. Each new set offers a featured wine that is selected to complement the band’s music. I loved this spin on wine pairings and it added an intriguing component to the festival.

Festival Details:

The Interstellar Rodeo started in 2015, and it is held in two Canadian cities every year: Edmonton and Winnipeg. As I mentioned above, we attended the Winnipeg festival which was located at The Forks, a very convenient downtown location. And it was especially convenient for us since we were staying at the hotel right next door, The Inn at the Forks.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

The festival gates typically open around 4:30 p.m. on Friday evening and 11:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and it wraps each evening around 10-10:30 p.m. There are no camping facilities on site like some other festivals we’ve been to, but there are plenty of nearby hotels to retire to for the evening. Tickets are offered in two forms: a weekend pass or single day passes. There are discounts for youth and senior tickets while children under 12 are admitted for free.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

There are no assigned seats during the festival. All tickets are general admission and you can bring a blanket or a low profile lawn chair to sit on, or you are free to find a spot on the grass or at one of the picnic tables on the grounds. In front of the stage, there is a line on the ground to divide the grass lawn in half. One side of the grass is for standing room and the other is for lawn chair seating. I loved how this was set up—it allowed everyone a great view no matter their preference.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

If you don’t want to be up close to the stage, there is plenty of room and open space to sit farther back on one of the hills. We tried out several spots during our three days at the festival, and besides standing near the stage, one of our favorites was on the grass hill in front of the parking garage.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

If you want a more exclusive experience, there is also the option to add on a ticket for the VIP section, but I’ll go into more detail on that below.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

In order to reduce the environmental footprint of the festival, a green initiative has been implemented. There are free water stations around the festival where you can refill your reusable water bottle. Also, instead of giving the crew and artists disposable plastic water bottles, the festival provides them with refillable water bottles to reduce waste. A bike valet station is set up so you can ride to the festival and park your bike worry free. And, instead of handing out paper flyers, festival goers can download the Interstellar Rodeo phone app for the latest on schedules, artists, wine pairings, FAQs and more.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Cameras and photos are allowed at the festival, but if you are planning on bringing a larger DSLR camera with a detachable lens, you will need to obtain a media pass. And, don’t worry if your phone runs out of battery because there are convenient phone charging stations available on site!

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Music:

Around 15 bands take the stage throughout the weekend, and the music is a mix from a variety of genres such as indie, soul, country noir, rock and more. The music selection changes every year, but some of the bands we really enjoyed were Wilco, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, the Strumbellas, case/lang/veirs, and Serena Ryder.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

We only recognized a few of the bands that were performing, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying practically every set we heard. Outdoor concerts are our favorite, and what could be better than listening to music as the sun sets and the lights fade on? We even left Winnipeg with a few new artists on our iTunes playlist, which is always an indication of a successful festival weekend!

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Food and Drinks:

Wine, beer, cider, and local food trucks were all present in abundance during the event. Several food trucks set up shop towards the edges of the festival grounds and they serve everything from fish to poutine to tacos to popsicles.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

We tried an order of the fresh walleye fish and chips and couldn’t resist a strawberry lemonade popsicle from the PopCart.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

The drink tents offered a variety of craft beer, cider and wine, and there are water stations available where you can refill your reusable water bottles. There were regular wine offerings throughout the festival, and during each set, a new featured wine was offered. The idea behind the wine and music pairing came from Gurvinder Bhatia, who is a wine writer and personality, as well as an avid music lover. It is certainly a fun twist on more traditional pairings, and if you think about it, the concept makes sense and adds a thought provoking twist to both the music and wine. Artists tell stories through their music just as a wine reveals its own story of its roots and origins during a tasting.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

If you want to learn more about the artists and/or the wine pairings to go along with them, be sure to have a look at the festival app for more details.

VIP Section:

The VIP section was located on the top level of the parking lot towards the back of the festival grounds. One aspect that I appreciated about the VIP section was the abundance of comfortable couches and chairs—it was a nice break from sitting on the grass in the general admission area!

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

The views from the VIP area were good if you had a spot at the railing, but if not you couldn’t really see the stage. You were able to hear the music throughout the entire festival grounds and VIP section though, so if views don’t matter to you, then relaxing on one of the couches is a great alternative. In addition to the seating, the VIP area offered less crowds, much shorter lines for drinks, snack bowls on several of the tables, and shaded areas from the sun. And perhaps one of the best features was a clean bathroom (granted it was a porta potty) with toiletries and a mirror situated outside.

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Our favorite way to utilize the VIP section was to spend a bit of time reveling in the nicer amenities, while catching the views from a table near the railing, and then popping down to the general admission area for alternative views and a bit more action. We loved being able to go between the two areas—it was the best of both worlds!

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

After Interstellar Party:

After the Saturday evening music is done for the night, the action moves over to the Food Hall at the Forks Market for an after party from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Tickets for the after party are an additional cost, but with the price of your ticket you will get complimentary food and drink samples until 11:30 p.m., and even more music. It’s a great way to keep the party going if you aren’t quite ready to call it quits for the night!

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

While we didn’t stay at the festival the entire weekend (we had other sightseeing to do in Winnipeg, after all!), we thoroughly enjoyed popping in and out to see several different bands. We loved the laid back atmosphere of the festival combined with the energy from fantastic musicians and the crowd—it was a wonderful way to spend a weekend in the city!

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Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Winnipeg, Canada

Special thanks to Travel Manitoba for providing us with complimentary admission to the Interstellar Rodeo. As always, all opinions are our own. 

20 Comments
  • Mei from Travel with Mei and Kerstin
    Posted at 03:34h, 17 June Reply

    It’s so cool that there were phone charging stations and also free water stations! But as I can see on your pics, wine was served in plastic cups. Ouch! 🙁 It would certainly have tasted better in a glass. 🙂 Hopefully they’ll change this on the next music festival, because less plastic = better for the planet.
    Mei from Travel with Mei and Kerstin recently posted…Rodemack: A Medieval Town in Lorraine, FranceMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 20:29h, 23 June Reply

      Yeah definitely agree–the less plastic the better. I wonder what an alternative could be for both glass and plastic–I can imagine it would be hard to have a bunch of glass at a festival in case it breaks. Maybe some type of reusable cups could be a good idea. They did a great job with the other sustainable practices though, so it’s great that they are thinking about sustainability and working to eliminate waste where possible!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Reflecting on Life at the Canadian Museum for Human RightsMy Profile

  • Punita Malhotra
    Posted at 03:56h, 17 June Reply

    I love the atmosphere of music festivals. This one seems great,…people sprawled out lazily on the grass mounds, variety of food stalls and even a slick VIP section !

  • Monika
    Posted at 04:22h, 17 June Reply

    I’m the one who would love to be in the VIP section – I like comfort and try to avoid crowds so I hardly ever go to concerts without assigned tickets.
    Seems like you had lots of fun!
    Monika recently posted…Why are you going there?My Profile

  • Susan R
    Twitter:
    Posted at 05:57h, 18 June Reply

    You had me at wine and music! I love the idea of pairing wine to the bands – we came across a similar idea at a micro brewery in Brussels that does this. The VIP section looks very plush

  • Trisha Velarmino
    Posted at 05:32h, 19 June Reply

    Wine and music! One of the romantic couples! And I think the VIP section is just necessary not to spoil the romance of this duo!

  • Fernanda
    Posted at 05:58h, 19 June Reply

    Winnipeg Music Festival looks very cool! I never heard of it before and will definitely try to come on a next edition!
    Love the pics of the food and drink 🙂

  • Jennifer
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:03h, 19 June Reply

    I’ve been to concerts loads of times, but I’ve actually never attended a music festival. This one looks really fun and I’d go depending on the artists playing. I love that they have free water and charging stations. I wish more festivals did that!
    Jennifer recently posted…Wonder Woman’s Themyscira Actually ExistsMy Profile

  • Chrysoula
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:17h, 20 June Reply

    I am so impressed by the organization of the festival. The music sounds interesting and I love it is paired with wine too, but it is amazing how people are situated so everyone has a good view, I love the reusable waters and the charging stations as I always run out of battery. I would love to attend this festival for sure!

  • Laura Lynch
    Posted at 13:06h, 20 June Reply

    What I like the most about this is that it doesn’t look like there are too many people there. I hate festivals that are so crowded that you can’t really have a good time, but it looks like there’s even plenty of space to sit on the grass. I can definitely get on board with that.

  • Megan Jerrard
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:02h, 20 June Reply

    Interstellar Rodeo sounds like a really cool festivals – the last few music festivals I’ve been to I’ve been peer pressured by my friends to camp out lol so I actually really love the fact that you have to stay in a hotel for this one – the luxury of a proper bed cannot be underestimated :D!!! And I love that they separate the standing room from the seated – really clever, sometimes this gets way out of hand and is really difficult for those who want to set up a lawn chair and just relax without getting trampled.

    Impressed with the experience and overall organization of the event. Would love to hit it up next year!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 20:08h, 23 June Reply

      Yeah, it was a really cool event, especially the seating/standing options! We really liked that there wasn’t a campground, too–we always love camping, but packed campgrounds aren’t really our thing–we’d rather be out in nature if we are camping!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Reflecting on Life at the Canadian Museum for Human RightsMy Profile

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