by the Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — British rocker Elvis Costello, along with his band, The Imposters, will kick off a newly expanded, five-day Winnipeg Folk Festival on July 8.
“We’re just further recession-proofing the festival, looking at ways to get people more excited about coming out, and to bring more tourists to the province, too,” said artistic director Chris Frayer.
“We have a large camping population at the festival on the Wednesday anyway, and we also have the infrastructure set up, so we figured why not put on a performance.”
It will be Costello’s first appearance in Winnipeg since 1978.
The new Wednesday performance will be ticketed separately, but Frayer said the intention is to maintain the festival’s regular evening atmosphere.
That said, the bespectacled singer-songwriter, known for crafting literate songs and blending diverse musical styles, will be playing an extra-long set, at least 90 minutes, he added.
Costello, 54, who is married to Nanaimo-born jazz singer Diana Krall, has recorded more than 30 albums, which run the stylistic gamut from pop to country to soul.
His new acoustic album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, is due for release on June 2.
“I’ve always been a big fan and I’ve been pursuing him since I started here, but I was interested in him also because of his raised profile in the Canadian market,” Frayer said.
Spectacle: Elvis Costello With, the singer’s new talk-music show, is broadcast Fridays on CTV.
Although Frayer said getting Costello was “a bit of a coup,” his strategy was simple.
“I just asked,” Frayer said. “The worst people can say is no, right?”