Whether one of the thousands of families with babies in strollers and toddlers on piggyback, gangs of girlfriends stretched out on the lawn or elderly couples perched in the shade listening to Corb Lund and Annie Lou, from their hearts to their souls to the bottoms of their bare feet, it's no secret that tourists and locals alike love this folk fest.
Kelly Doody - Calgary Herald
The Festival • July 25-28, 2013
From its origins as an eccentric kitchen party writ large to the major national event it has become, the Calgary Folk Music Festival embraces a singularly Canadian festival style, earning a glowing reputation for programming that welcomes music from around the corner and the globe, bringing together marquee artists, local favourites, history-makers and innovators to Calgary for a broad-ranging vision of folk with an edge, and a festival with a wry, get ’er done attitude.
The Globe and Mail dubbed the Festival ‘one of the seven musical wonders of the world’ noting that it has the best programming of the post-folk music fests. We provide authentic, magical encounters that surprise even dedicated festival aficionados, creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for both artists and audience members.
Our programming format, lovingly referred to as a series of ‘arranged marriages,’ creates rare, wonderful opportunities for artists to meet and collaborate. These collaborative sessions group disparate artists loosely by themes, encouraging them to collaborate on each other’s material, creating coveted once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for audiences and artists alike.
The festival stays true to its roots and has kept its Woodie Guthrie-style ethos. Our festival site is likened to a small town in a big city, nestled on an island in the heart of downtown Calgary, surrounded by rivers and skyscrapers. Stepping off the concrete, you enter a serene site built lovingly by the hands of 1700 volunteers. Our eco policies are second-to-none. We are leaders in our community, feeding our volunteers and artists organic, locally sourced meals, composting across the site, providing water free to all patrons, and disallowing the sale of bottled water. We were recently rewarded for these efforts with A Greener Festival (UK) award. (Read more about our green policies)
For four days each July, a village fifty thousand strong writes their stories on the warm summer breeze and brims with the joyous sounds of musical exploration, community and inspiration. It’s an aural adventure; sweet and edgy, evolving and unpredictable. It’s the Calgary Folk Music Festival.
|Thursday July 25||4:30 pm||n/a||5:30 pm - 10:00 pm|
|Friday July 26||2:00 pm||3:00 - 6:00 pm||6:00 - 11:30 pm|
|Saturday July 27||9:30 am||10:30 - 5:30 pm||5:30 pm - 11:30 pm|
|Sunday July 28||9:30 am||10:30 - 5:30 pm||5:30 pm - 10:00 pm|
Top 10 Festival Tips
- The festival is comprised of mainstage concerts and workshops/ sessions.
- The mainstage concerts take place in the evenings Thursday - Sunday. The workshops and other concerts take place on smaller stages throughout the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Most of the mainstage artists also participate in workshops.
- When you arrive, check the main field for space. Become a tarpie! Seating is on the grass in front of the mainstage. Those in first get the best spots. Bring a tarp (6 X 8 max size), a blanket and short beach chairs to sit on. People use it as their home base for the day; a place for their extra clothes, coolers, etc. and a spot to hook up with friends during the mainstage shows.
- There's a dancing and standing area near the front on both sides of the mainstage so that you can get close to your favourite artists. There are large video screens to view the mainstage from.
- Programming for the 6 workshops stages changes almost every hour, so audience members go from one stage to another, setting up in front of the stage as they go.
- Sessions on these stages bring musicians together in unpredictable and magical collaborations.
- Once you have a wristband, you can come and go from the site.
- There's a variety of reasonably priced, and delicious, international food on site for sale, but you're welcome to bring your own food (we reserve the right to search coolers to ensure there’s no glass or liquor inside).
- Stay for the day. Alongside the great music there's a beer garden, a children's play area, a craft market, artist merchandise for sale, and lots of beautiful sunshine to bask in. Bring a change of clothes (it's Calgary after all). During the course of a day temperatures can fluctuate by 10 or even 20 degrees from the hot mid-day sunshine to those mountain-chilled evening breezes. Back in 1993 it even rained.
- Car pool, bike or walk to the site. There’s lots of inexpensive parking around the Eau Claire district ($2 evenings and weekends at the Eau Claire Market). As the festival is downtown, it’s on bus routes. The Festival has secure bicycle parking on site.
- Come back next year; all the new friends you'll make will be there too.
Still have some unanswered questions? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.
Future Festival dates
July 24 - 27, 2014
July 23 - 26, 2015