Festival connects international acts to local scene

Third Forthwith Festival brings experimental art to Winnipeg

The third annual Forthwith Festival will bring experimental art and music to Winnipeg Feb. 1-3. International and Canadian artists will be performing and hosting interactive workshops.

Forth Café will be hosting the festival in collaboration with Video Pool, a self-described “Winnipeg-based, nonprofit artist-run centre dedicated to the creation, exhibition and promotion of independent media art.”

The festival this year will be kicking off alongside February’s First Fridays in the Exchange, where downtown Winnipeg is transformed into an interactive space filled audiovisual installations, performances and workshops.

“Forthwith is a festival for experimental electronic music on the fringes, on the outskirts of the musical landscape right in the middle of winter and I’m happy to be the artistic director,” explained Wouter Jaspers.

This year’s festival brings Greenlandic Inuit experimental electronic music to Winnipeg, featuring producers such as Uyarakq and Norwegian performer duo CVK.

Jaspers is a well-known Dutch artist and synthesizer designer. He has been living in Berlin for the past decade, organizing concerts and performing.

Jaspers has been involved with Forthwith from its conception. He helped his Winnipeg friends organize the first Forthwith Festival in 2017, with the goal of creating a music festival in bringing people together in the middle of winter.

“We want to introduce a more Berlin-style party with that atmosphere of how we experience it here, but still very much also rooted in Canadian power,” said Jaspers.

Many European artists are featured and collaborate with Canadian experimental artists. A Berlin-style warehouse party will be held on Annabella Street on the Saturday night.

Berlin-based music composer and performer Hainbach will be returning to Winnipeg for his second feature in Forthwith.

In addition to performing, Hainbach will be leading a workshop on live electronic music improvisation.

“I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how to improvise electronic music live, how to realize that without resorting to pre-existing patterns, without using computers, without using playback devices of any kind except for maybe an old tape loop or something,” said Hainbach.

He said he enjoys sharing his skills with a broader audience, and also has a YouTube channel where he shares electronic music tutorials.

This year’s edition of Forthwith places greater emphasis on creating a space of learning and engagement between the artists and audience. Víctor Mazón Gardoqui, a Spanish experimental producer, will be bringing his hand-made devices for his workshop that pick up wireless and electromagnetic signals and convert them into musical tones.

Studio 393, a youth-led art studio and an initiative of Winnipeg’s Graffiti Art Programming Inc, will be hosting several workshops on hip-hop and beat production for local youth.

Two theatrical performances will also be featured. Natalie Abbott, an Australian performer and choreographer, will be opening both Friday night’s and Saturday night’s parties.

Hainbach and Mike Thomsen, a Greenlandic musician and Inuit performer, will be putting together a piece exclusively for the festival.


Tickets are available at Forth (171 McDermot Ave.) or on Eventbrite.ca. Visit forthwithfestival.ca for more information.