Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival Line-Up Is Appetizing

Good food and tunes will be the highlight of this August's event.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

What's better than live music and succulent barbecued fare in the heart of the 'Peg? The schedule for the first annual Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival at Red River Exhibition Park in August is jam-packed with big names in music as well as big cooking competitions.

“It will be a weekend full of red-hot blues featured on three stages beginning each day at noon,” said Rick Fenton, managing event partner. “From the inaugural 'Meat Ball' on Friday to Winnipeg’s first Gospel Brunch on Sunday morning, Winnipeggers and visitors will be treated to some of the best blues performers from across North America as well as other fun events and tasty treats. This is the first time an event like this has taken place in Winnipeg and we’ve planned a weekend full of great music and a BBQ competition that is already attracting the attention of cooks and connoisseurs across North America.”

A few highlights of the three-day event include headlining musical act and Texas blues legend Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt a Whirl Band. Also, the Winnipeg Free Press Pit Masters Championship is a BBQ competition that will take place Saturday and Sunday with a $10,000 cash purse, which is the largest in Canada. The coveted prize for the Grand Champion will include an automatic invitation to the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Competition in Lynchburg, Tennessee. If that weren't enough to whet your whistle, the Kansas City Barbecue Society is offering a half-day certified judges course on May 12 at Red River Exhibition Park as well.

Attendees can also check out more than 70 tricked out big rigs at the 5th Annual House of Chrome Show and Shine. Other events taking place over the festival weekend include an artisan’s village, food vendors, multiple beverage gardens, a Sunday morning Gospel Brunch, a Great American BBQ Tour, and other food demonstrations.

The Winnipeg BBQ & Blues Festival will take place from August 17-19. Early bird weekend passes go on sale Thursday at Ticketmaster.