Story by Michelle McChristie, Photos by Darren McChristie

It’s a hot and breezy Friday afternoon in Winnipeg. Music fans of all ages have gathered at The Forks for the third edition of Interstellar Rodeo. The show kicks off with Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and the crowd is immediately captivated—Stuart looks as good as he sounds with his silver hair and black scarf blowing in the wind. He is a five-time Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter who cut his teeth playing in Johnny Cash’s back-up band. When a musician of this calibre is the opening act of a three-day festival, fans know they will be satiated.

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

Interstellar Rodeo is organized by indy record label Six Shooter Records and takes place in Edmonton and Winnipeg. No detail at this festival is overlooked. The venue is picturesque and spacious (no chairs in front of the stage), the food and drink selection is as diverse and high quality as the music (they provide wine/beer recommendations that complement each musician), there is a secure, volunteer-run bike valet (by donation), and the port-a-potties smell like cinnamon hearts (no joke!).

Beck—definitely the biggest draw of the weekend

T-shirts with Six Shooter’s mission statement “Life is too short to listen to shitty music” are a common sight at the festival—an idea that music aficionados can get behind. With headliners like Father John Misty, Beck, and Broken Social Scene supported by the likes of The Rheostatics, Shakey Graves, and Aloe Blacc, it is music aficionados that Interstellar Rodeo attracts.

Beck shared some of his family history with the crowd; his great-grandfather drove a street car in Winnipeg and he had met his great aunt prior to the show

The multi-genre line-up is carefully curated by Six Shooter’s small team—it’s bold and unpredictable, indicative of a label that isn’t afraid to take a chance on an artist they believe in. Fans might have come to see a few of their favourites, but it’s a safe bet that each one had their mind opened to new grooves and left with a renewed faith in the power of music to transcend race and religion and unite a crowd.

Interstellar Rodeo returns to The Forks for round four from August 10-12, 2018.

Aloe Blacc