Rainbow Trout Music Festival, St Malo Manitoba

Rainbow Trout Music Festival starts with the pilgrimage into the festival. You park your car alongside hundreds of others on a dusty gravel road and walk into the festival grounds, feeling jealous of the people with collapsible wagons and those who packed light.

By this point, you have already lost cell signal and internet when you turned off the highway. Better hope your friends are distinguishable from a crowd, otherwise you are going to be walking around by yourself until you run into them at the port-a-potties on Saturday. I think one of my favorite parts about the festival is being forced to unplug. It’s really hard to not just sink into your phone when you feel anxious, but you don’t overlook some beautiful moments.

You walk down the a hill (or a mountain when you’re carrying a cooler in flip flops)and one of two sights will behold you: Deer and Almond with a big red sign reading OFFEE (did the c fall off? Did they forget the C? We will never know), or the campground.

I decided last-minute I was going to costume “alien” this year and packed for it. In reality I got as far as glitter on my lips and some space themed leggings. I always get so ambitious and then it gets hot (or cold) and I don’t want to look for clothes in my tent anymore. Some people wear costumes, some people wear sweatpants, some people get married in the river while their friend sings Pony.
Rainbow Trout has an all-local lineup of music and entertainment. I have almost no photos of performers because I’m 5’1’’ and I don’t like standing beside the subwoofer- SORRY (not sorry!)- The music was outstanding (ATLAAS, I’m talking to you!) but please just walk around and talk to people. They are the kind of people who will stay up until 2am and enthusiastically watch Smoky Tiger in the Late Tent, where performance art meets dance party.

My first year at RTMF Smoky Tiger chanted all the reasons he hated Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a dance beat. This year, he and his glitter-morph-suit crew enforced a clear, curved aisle through the middle of the tent and the show stopped if people stood in the aisle. Everyone figured out amongst themselves how to move back to form it again, and no one complained. Midway through, he “took a call” on his no-signal phone. A tall lean imposter in a cloak and mask comes out and the crowd boos (everyone knows it’s Ben Jones, the festival director). Smoky Tiger comes back and they have a fight to the death, ending with Ben Jones squirting ketchup blood all over himself and the audience. Then the dance music starts in the pink light.  

Welcome to Rainbow Trout. Throw out your trash. 

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