The renowned Winnipeg Folk Festival has evolved and grown over the 35 years since its inception – but it is getting better with a purpose.

Some festivals rest on their laurels and reach their limits and then decline. But the organisers of this festival have a plan. They undertook a study over two years of how the festival actually worked – and they did so from the inside out, not just getting a bunch of consultants in.

The first step was to bring in landscape architects, their interns and families integrated as volunteers so they could experience the festival from the inside.

“The team recorded circulation patterns, seating, density of use, sun and shade preferences, acoustics, the camping experience, washroom lineups, and other interactions with an eye for the unexpected.”

This experience, was brought together with surveys and audience comments, workshops with organisers, volunteers and board members and developed into a development plan so that facilities could be designed from the ground up with sound logistics and appropriate venues in keeping with the ‘feel’ of the festival.

Don’t you wish all festivals would make this sort of effort for continuous improvement?