My recent trip to Melbourne, Australia to represent Assiniboine Credit Union at the annual meeting of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), was interesting, informative and inspiring.
Shortly before I left Winnipeg, I was one of three who were invited to present to GABV attendees a short ‘Ted-style’ talk. In five minutes or less, we were each asked to introduce an arts or cultural group member with whom we had a mutually supportive relationship. Our long-standing relationship with the Winnipeg Folk Festival was the first to come to mind.
Bringing Winnipeg Folk Festival to Australia
Day three of the annual meeting and I was up. I started with some geographical education, describing where in Canada Winnipeg can be found (at the longitudinal centre of our vast country); then, where in relation Bird’s Hill Provincial Park is located and how its serenity has been transformed every July for the past 40 years — soon to be 41.
I explained that the first Folk Festival was intended to be a one-time music event as part of the City of Winnipeg’s 100th anniversary celebration. Even in those early days — and as it morphed into an annual festival — and then to a year ‘round hub of music excellence, the Folk Festival chose Assiniboine Credit Union as its partner.
And as they have supported us over the years, we support them with basic banking, specialized community accounts, loans and business support, sponsorship and advertising. ACU employees serve as volunteers; and our former CEO, Al Morin co-chaired the Capital Campaign over the past couple of years to help raise funds for environmental improvements to the festival site (among other things). Today, the Winnipeg Folk Festival attendance exceeds 80,000 including thousands of visitors and musicians from around the world.
The Cat Empire at the Folk Festival
My talk was to be brief, so in the time I had left, I let the festival speak for itself, and those gathered were absolutely charged by this video from the 40th anniversary in 2013. Part of the excitement undoubtedly had to do with the music track on the video – Australia’s own The Cat Empire.
What a fabulous experience! And I – for one of 80,000 or more – can’t wait for this year’s festival. The lineup has just been announced and — wow!