Folk Fest not flustered by floods

Posted by Colleen Schmidt on 25 July 2013

Organizers of the 34th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival say the show will go on at Prince’s Island Park thanks to the efforts of parks crews and hundreds of volunteers.

The island was covered with water from the Bow River and festival officials were uncertain if they would be able to build it back up enough to host one of the city’s most popular events of the summer.

"It's just been a huge colaborative effort to get everyone to come together and do an amazing amount of work in a short period of time," said Greg Stewart, Project Manager for the city's Parks Department.


Folk Fest, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Prince's I


The stage is set for the annual Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Stewart says the first thing they did was rebuild the causeway to the Island as it is the only vehicle access to the venue.

He says pathways, benches, tables and lighting were destroyed and washed away by the raging waters and that the task of rebuilding looked almost impossible at first.

"There was an incredible amount of debris and garbage and silt and just the amount of work to get it ready for the festival was immense. But after some careful planning and a lot of colaboration we were able to reach our goal," said Stewart.

"The city took us on a tour five days later and it was really damaged and junk everywhere but they said they could get most of it if we could help. We had volunteers come in the following Sunday. We put out a call for 250 we got 500 within an hour and the city had tools and we started cleaning up," said Les Semieniuk, General Manager of the Calgary Folk Music Festival.

One stage and the artisan market had to be moved to Eau Claire Market because of flood damage but the rest of the festival will take place on the island as planned.

"By changing the hours we can fit in everybody,"said Semieniuk. "All 68 bands get the chance to play and play with each other."

The four day event gets underway on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and goes to Sunday.

Dozen of artists will perform on six stages throughout the weekend.

The Apache Talk Tent is a new addition this year and will feature standup comics for the first time at the event.

Most tickets for the show are already sold out but there are still a few available at the gate for Sunday.

For more information, visit the Calgary Folk Music Festival website.

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