The first annual International Reggae Afro Latin Music & Arts (IRAL) Winter Festival is underway in Steinbach.

The entertainment includes a variety of performances and happens inside a heated tent at 276 Main Street.

Neville Hamilton is the CEO and project director of the IRAL Music and Arts Festival and he says community events are important to him.

“I’m from Jamaica. We like community, we love community, and we like to get together and share the love,” he says.

Hamilton hopes this event will encourage people to connect with each other and build relationships. With loosened restrictions, he feels now is the right time to bring people together, to have some fun and build relationships.

This is the first winter festival and Hamilton is hopeful this will be an annual event.

The festival wraps up on Sunday. Tickets are required for each show and they can be purchased online.

IRAL was created to be the catalyst to express the talents of the underrepresented while providing them with a professional platform no matter their skill level.

Festivals like the one in Steinbach help to bring Caribbean, Latin and Afro music to Manitobans while promoting peaceful co-existence in the province.