Calgary Folk Music Festival means friends, food and bands to discover
About a month after Sled Island and a week or so after the Calgary Stampede, Calgarians stash their boots and jeans and pull out their flip flops and cut-offs to get ready for the Calgary Folk Music Festival (this year, July 24-27), on Prince’s Island Park.
Just steps from the skyscrapers that house Canada’s oil and gas industry, the 35-year-old Folk Fest presents four days and seven stages full of music from funk to folk with plenty of everything else in the middle.
This year, big names such as Hey Rosetta!, Fishbone and Rufus Wainwright will take the stage along with dozens of other artists including Art Bergman, Jason Isbell and Valerie June.
As well as the main stage, there are six side stages where you will find musicians who just met playing together for audiences made up of energy company executives, dancing hippies and others.
You don’t need to have heard of any of the acts to have a great time.
You can buy a festival guide and research and chart out the weekend, follow a musical mastermind around to see their favourite obscure band, or just follow your nose, or ears, to park yourself near a stage with a magical musical mash-up.
The event boasts “green” credentials. Stage electrics are wind-powered. There’s an award-winning compostable program started by a guy who works in oil and gas. The festival also says it has an 86-per-cent waste-diversion rate, thanks, in part, to compostable beer cups. Activists such as Bruce Cockburn take the main stage. Crowds happily line up at food trucks and to fill their water bottles from public taps (no plastic water bottles are sold on site), while little kids, the next generation of Calgary entrepreneurs, offer to return your reusable plates and pocket the toonie deposit.
Whether you drop by for one afternoon or throw down a tarp on each of the four days, you’re guaranteed to make some new friends, enjoy great food and discover a new favourite band.