An Insider’s Guide to Winnipeg’s Music Scene -
Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club

An Insider’s Guide to Winnipeg’s Music Scene

By: Cierra Bettens

Throughout its storied musical history, Winnipeg has nurtured an abundance of talent, from rock legends like The Guess Who and Neil Young to contemporary Juno-winning darlings like William Prince and international chart toppers like Faouzia. 

Today, promoters like Real Love Winnipeg cultivate a thriving local scene while bringing in indie acts from across North America. Annual events like the Winnipeg Folk FestivalSummer of Sound and the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival headline the warmer months.

This year, be sure to check out the Beyond the Beat: Music of Resistance and Change exhibition at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to learn about the revolutionary power of music.

Whether you’re a diehard punk, opera aficionado, or anything in between, Winnipeg’s music scene has something for everyone. Here is where you can hear it all.

The West End Cultural Centre
In the late ‘80s, Winnipeg Folk Festival founders Mitch Podolak and Ava Kobrinsky converted an Ellice Street church into the West End Cultural Centre (WECC), a congregation for music lovers across the city. Today, the volunteer-run venue maintains its community roots while bringing in exciting acts from near and far. It also hosts a seasonal festival rotation—the Ellice Street Festival in June and Winterruption in January—attracting thousands of residents.

The Handsome Daughter
Nestled in the heart of Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood, The Handsome Daughter is where locals go to hear emerging homegrown talent and eccentric touring acts. Upon entry, you’ll be welcomed into a cozy community bar, home to Winnipeg’s newest hot dog joint. Down the hall, the intimate music venue is booked solid with shows that’ll keep you grooving all night.

Burton Cummings Theatre
Named after the Winnipeg-born Guess Who frontman, the Burton Cummings Theatre opened as the Walker Theatre in 1907 to attract high-calibre performing arts. Since then, thousands of first-rate acts have played its stage. In the summer, the theatre’s parking space transforms into the Burt Block Party grounds, an outdoor concert series headlined by performers like Arkells, The Strumbellas and Cheap Trick.

Canada Life Centre
Doubling as the Winnipeg Jets’ home base during the NHL season, Canada Life Centre is the go-to destination for A-list acts from across the globe. Neil YoungHozier and Avril Lavigne are just a few names you can catch this year.

Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club
With a honky-tonk dive bar feel and sensational musical talent, it’s hard not to feel at home at the Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club. An eclectic mix of bluegrass, country and alt-rock drives locals to the Main Street dig every week. During Winnipeg’s balmy summer months, the bar and tunes move outdoors to Blue Note Park, the venue’s neighbouring patio. To cure those end-of-the-weekend blues, head to the Sunday Night Jam.

The Park Theatre
From sold-out Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings to spirited rock concerts, The Park Theatre serves up a little bit of everything. The South Osborne neighbourhood venue is large enough to host renowned acts but small enough to offer a more intimate experience between performers and fans.

Centre culturel franco-manitobain
With the highest proportion of Francophones in Western Canada, Manitoba boasts a thriving French-language music scene. Located in the heart of Saint Boniface, a.k.a. Winnipeg’s French Quarter, the Centre culturel franco-manitobain regularly hosts some of the best Francophone talent in the city. Whether or not vous parlez français, good times are guaranteed.

The Pyramid Cabaret
Since 1987, The Pyramid Cabaret (formerly The Spectrum Cabaret) has functioned as a meeting place for punks, metalheads and alternative rockers of all stripes. The Downtown venue is known for hosting rock legends like the Goo Goo Dolls, Echo & the Bunnymen and Quiet Riot right before their heyday.

Centennial Concert Hall
As the official home of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Centennial Concert Hall is the premier destination for Winnipeg’s finest classical arts. The timeless locale programs ballets, symphonies, operas and special events that are sure to enchant audiences. During the Winnipeg New Music Festival, it welcomes worldly contemporary composers to the Canadian Prairies.

Club Regent Event Centre
With its state-of-the-art adjustable floor plan, Winnipeg’s premiere casino, Club Regent Event Centre, offers both seated, auditorium-style shows and regular standing shows to keep you moving. For acts, it leans toward legendary performers and crooners, with plenty of tribute acts sprinkled throughout the year. For example, this summer you can catch Nazareth, Extreme, and Daniel O'Donnell, while November sees “The Ultimate Taylor Swift Tribute” with Katy Ellis.

Visitor Information

21 Forks Market Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3C 4T7
1 855 PEG CITY (734-2489)

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