The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is excited to celebrate Downtown Winnipeg’s largest festival: ManyFest: All together downtown. Manyfest will see an anticipated 30,000-plus people celebrating on Broadway September 7 to 9, 2012.
Varying stretches of the north side of Broadway will be closed to vehicular traffic over the weekend, which will feature a wine festival, music, running race, dancing, kids zone, lights and Ciclovia. The festival for all ages celebrates community, arts, entertainment and healthy living on the streets of downtown Winnipeg beneath Broadway’s beautiful lit canopy of elm trees!
Just some of the weekend’s big events:
In 1975, Winnipeg bassist Ralph James formed Harlequin upon recruiting vocalist George Belanger, guitarist Glen Willows, keyboardist Gary Golden, and drummer David Budzak. The band began recording demos and travelling to Toronto to perform in the local bars and clubs. It was in one of these small bars in Toronto that Harlequin were discovered by representatives of Jack Douglas, the producer of Aerosmith, John Lennon, and Patti Smith. The discovery of Harlequin by Jack Douglas’s representatives was completely by chance, as they had intended to see another band in a larger bar downstairs, but could not gain admittance due to a sell-out crowd.
Jack Douglas helped in getting Harlequin signed to CBS/Epic Records records in 1979, and later that year that band released their first LP, Victim of a Song, which quickly went Gold, and began receiving heavy radio play, particularly in Western Canada. The band’s second release, Love Crimes (1980) wielded two hits, “Thinking Of You,” and “Innocence,” Harlequin’s biggest hit to date. Harlequin’s third album One False Move (1982) wielded two more hits, “Superstitious Feeling,” and “I Did It For Love.” The first three albums together locked Harlequin in as a staple on Canadian rock radio, and they released a compilation album, Radio Romances in 1984.
For their self-titled fourth studio album, Harlequin replaced Jack Douglas with The Fixx bassist Alfie Agius as their producer. Harlequin (1985), produced only one single, “Take this Heart.” In 1986, Harlequin released their Greatest Hits album, and disbanded shortly thereafter. By the time the band stopped touring in 1986, guitarist Glen Willows had been replaced by John Hannah, Gary Golden had been replaced by John White on keyboards, and Denton Young had taken over David Budzak’s drummer seat.
In 2004, some members of the band reformed temporarily under the guise of Harlequin II, and in 2006, the band was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame, under the auspices of the Western Canadian Music Awards.
In 2007 George Belanger reformed Harlequin with a different lineup of musicians, himself being the only original member of the band. This current lineup includes guitarist Derrick Gottfried, bassist Nik Rivers, keyboardist Darren Moore, and drummer AJ Chabidon. This lineup released Waking the Jester (2007), which contained two singles, “Shine On,” and “Rise.” The current band resumed touring, and in 2009 released Harlequin’s first live album, Live On/Q.
The band continues to tour mostly within Canada, performing frequently around the country.