Music filled Trinity United Church yesterday as the fifth annual Hot Blizzard Folk Festival melted Portage's winter blues and brought smiles to people's faces.

Coordinator/artistic director Linda Omichinski says the crowds really loved it noting people of all ages were up dancing to the music. She explains the audience was treated to something special when Chief Dennis Meeches, also known as Yoza, brought his up-beat music to the stage.

"He actually brought his entire band rather than just himself so it was a real treat for people."

Omichinski says attendance at this year's festival was up from previous years.

"I think there was more buzz this year and more advanced ticket sales which is unusual for Portage La Prairie. [There's] more diversity in the people that are actually coming, so there's diversity in the music as well as the people that are coming."

She adds it was a come and go-type of event.

"People came for a bit and then they left and others came and then they left and some stayed for the entire folk festival. There was a lot of flexibility in how it played out because we had a long line-up from 1:00 to 10:00."

She notes the music built throughout the day, becoming more lively and blues-y near evening.