Calgary Folk Fest celebrates a successful show despite downturn

Posted by on 25 July 2016

Calgary Folk Festival 2016

Elizabeth Cook plays during the final day of the Calgary Folk Fest, which saw some hot weather worthy of lots of sunscreen. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

The Calgary Folk Music Festival said it managed to weather the economic storm this year, thanks in part to picture-perfect weather.

Artistic director Kerry Clarke said the organization was nervous, with slow initial ticket sales and the downturn in the economy, but crowds turned out at the gates to snap up last-minute tickets. 

kerry clarke calgary folk fest

Kerry Clarke, the artistic director with the Calgary Folk Festival, said it was a successful year despite the economic downturn. (Tricia Lo/CBC)

"There have been years where we've been sold out and sometimes people get into thinking that they can't get them at the gate, so we were really trying to spread the message that you could indeed get a ticket," she said.

According to Clarke, approximately 12,000 to 13,000 people attended the festival each day.

"Sponsorships are slightly down," she said. "They've been slightly down for the last two years. We have a lot of sponsors who say, 'We will be back.' They're just waiting for things to improve for them, and some of them have stuck it out."

'We plan to be around for another 37'

Despite those struggles with sponsorships and a high US dollar, Clarke said the festival, which has branched out in recent years to include year-round programming at its Festival Hall venue, managed to hit its artistic budget this year.

calgary folk festival 2016 1

The warm weather helped Calgary Folk Fest organizers hit its artistic budget this year. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

"We always try to be smart about what we do. We've grown into quite a large organization and we're really resilient. We've been around for 37 years, we plan to be around for another 37," she said.

"I don't think we've really taken a hit this year, and we try and be smart about how much we spend and how much we earn."