The summertime bustle of Manitou Beach is set to get under way with the always entertaining line up of events at various beach side locales. A June event that takes advantage of almost all of the resort village’s venues is the annual Manitou Beach Busking Festival. 

It’s the fourth annual festival of its kind. The first edition was born out of the pandemic restrictions which allowed limited outdoor gatherings. Musical artists were anxious to play, and the outdoor busking idea provided a safe and management way for people to enjoy live music. The Festival launches the evening of Friday, June 28 and goes through to Sunday, June 30.  

Since its start, the Busking Festival has grown in popularity and in its performer base, says organizer Sarah McKen, who anchors the event at the Little Manitou Art Gallery.  

“We have 42 different performances with different musicians and bands joining us,” McKen says. “They’ll be performing at a variety of venues. We’re really looking forward to it.” 

The performance roster is filled with the highest number of contributors ever, McKen says. It makes for a full weekend of entertaining music and performances from artists, both well-known and local, and some new to the fold. There are other special events attached to this year’s festival. 

“Bruce Rawling is presenting a song writer’s workshop for us this year. We have Brian Paul DG returning, as well as the Chris Vasser Band, Janet Fedor Band, the ever-popular ShuBoy, Ty Penny, Uklectic Fred and many more. We have a few new faces joining us too. We have some folks who are stepping out first time at a public venue and some die hard professionals.” 

Listeners can expect all sorts of genres from roots/folk to rock, country, jazz, and traditional. All the buskers are playing for the hat, so audiences are reminded to bring a few crisp bills for the artists who are not otherwise paid. 

“In the past, people have been very generous, and the musicians appreciate that tangible encouragement to perform and encourage their art form.” 

Friday night features a presentation on the Manitou Springs terrace by the Jesse Brooklyn Band. On Saturday night, a jam session with many of the weekend’s artists takes the stage of the Little Manitou Art Gallery with Ty Penny performing at Mike’s Beach Bar. Sunday kicks off with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Manitou Beach Rec Board and wraps up with an evening performance by Patty and the Stack at Danceland.  

The freeform nature of the event allows people to explore the village, visit familiar favourites, discover new haunts, and see what Manitou Beach has to offer. More details will be posted on the Manitou Beach Busking Festival Facebook page.