Audio diversity key to Calgary Folk Music Festival's success

Posted by Metro News on 27 July 2017

Audio diversity key to Calgary Folk Music Festival's success
The festival on Prince's Island Park has been going strong for more than three decades


The artistic director of Calgary’s mainstay summer music festival believes a diverse lineup has been the key to more than three decades of success.

This weekend, the Calgary Folk Music Festival (CFMF) will return to roost on Prince Edward Island for the 38th year, featuring more than 70 local and international artists from a spectrum of genres.

“It’s a festival of discovery, there’s pretty much something for everyone,” said Kerry Clark, artistic director of the CFMF.

Despite an economic slump and a few lost sponsors, she said the festival’s popularity hasn’t wained.

“The fact that it’s family friendly and appeals to so many different people means that you’re not just relying on a small demographic to keep you going,” Clark told Metro. “We’ve lost a few [sponsors] from the oil industry, but because we’re a community-based event we’ve been able to not necessarily replace all of them, but we have some really good new (ones).”

The CFMF’s board chair, Shayne McBride, said the festival tries to be as fiscally responsible as possible by booking artists in their price range.

“We’ve been really focused on the experience, making sure this is just a great four days for people and there’s a diverse lineup,” McBride said. “It does feel like a little community that springs up – it’s a pretty magical place for four days.”

The weekend is expected to be hot and sunny, but Clark noted the beer gardens were expanded last year and are family-friendly, just like the rest of the festival.

There’s also a craft market, record tent and tons of local food vendors to check out, although bringing your own grub is allowed too.

Most of the artists you'll hear are independent and original song writers, including several acts from Calgary such as Ghostkeeper and hip-hop-influenced duo Sargeant & Comrade.

Between the festival’s six stages, Clark said there are plenty of new favourites to discover.

“To be able to take in different stages during the afternoon and wander from one to the other … it’s those kind of things that give people a real feeling that (this festival is) for everyone,” she said.