Calgary Folk Fest sees smaller crowds but amazing weather on opening day
"I think it is a little bit smaller as a group right now and a lot of things are affected. We can't ignore that," Mary Valentich said.
She's a good judge of the size of the crowd. She's being coming to the festival for around 20 years. She's also a fan of the bigger beer gardens this year.
For some, it's a whole new experience.
Leon Kniebel has lived in Calgary for ten years but this is his first Folk Fest.
Kniebel's girlfriend, Claire Kimbley, says it's a place you can fall in love with the music.
Kimbley has been a volunteer for about five years.
Kandace Bartko says this is her first festival in a few years.
"First year in a long time, but as a kid we were here every year. I think this is Folk Fest number ten or eleven," Bartko explained.
"Little bit thinner, we are just coming off of Stampede too. You can definitely feel the economic downturn," she said.
Manfred Baum has come for the past two decades on and off.
He's torn on how the bigger beer gardens will play out.
"The concern of course is, the larger the beer garden the more problems you get, but then people do like having the occasional beer and that is fine," he said.
Peter Worthington found love at a previous Folk Fest.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who identifies as a "long time tarpie," says he won a recent argument over what time to show up to get the best real estate.
"I have a big fight with one of my friends every year about how early we need to show up. I always say later, she always says earlier and apparently this year I was right," Nenshi explained.
He says the type of people that come to the Calgary Folk Fest can usually handle their alcohol.
"It was always hugely congested in there and so I am happy to expand it a little bit, I am happy to let more people enjoy in different ways and I know the Folk Fest people are very responsible so I am not worried about it at all," he said.
The festival's artistic director says ticket sales are down, but the weather could give them the bump they are looking for.