Folk Fest hopes fine weather will bring the crowds to Prince’s Island Park

Posted by Cynthia Roebuck on 21 July 2016

After all the rain, organizers are happy to see the sun show up for the annual event, which packs the park for four days every summer.

“We are good to go, the food vendors are starting to prepare their tasty delights, our arts market vendors are all setting up and it looks like Mother Nature is blessing us with golden weather,” said Debbie Salmonsen, Folk Fest Executive Director.

The festival is mainly about the music, but there are plenty of activities to keep people of all ages entertained.

“We have a little half-pipe skateboard ramp, we have a library book truck for quiet time and reading for those who need a break from the music, we are having a 50/50 draw, so people can take their chances and maybe win lots of money, we have expanded our beer gardens so that it’s a lot larger and encompasses our Stage 3 so people can listen to music while they enjoy a beverage,” said Salmonsen.

Folk Fest is one of the most anticipated events of the year, with the festival often selling out. The downturn hit a lot of events hard like the Stampede, which had the lowest turnout in more than 20 years, though poor weather could take some of the blame. Several other events are hurting too like Pride Slide, which was supposed to kick off Pride Week but was cancelled completely because tickets weren't selling.

Statistics Canada said entertainment spending dropped nearly four percent over the last year nationwide, but Calgary's Folk Fest says their ticket sales aren't bad.

“Sales are very steady this year, but we are down a little bit from previous years or at least the last couple of years, 2013 was probably our best year ever, we sold out the whole weekend and same with 2012, so I think we felt the pinch of the economy,” said Kerry Clarke, Artistic Director

Artists come from around the world for the festival, including big names that are a big draw.

“We have the Tallest Man on Earth and the New Pornographers are some of the headliners,” said Clarke. “Tomorrow night, Whitehorse, an amazing Canadian duo, along with Lord Huron and several other great artists. On the weekend, Kathleen Edwards and Corb Lund, and tonight of course, Marty Stewart, famous country artist, so lots of household names and lots of emerging artists.”

The festival runs until Sunday night. More information can be found on the Folk Fest website.