Thousands expected to soak up sun & sounds at annual Calgary Folk Music Festival

Posted by Colleen Schmidt on 27 July 2017

Thousands expected to soak up sun & sounds at annual Calgary Folk Music Festival

The 38th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival gets underway on Thursday afternoon and will feature almost 70 artists from around the world over the four days.

Crews have been preparing for the event at Prince’s Island Park since last week and have set up seven stages for performers.

Some of the headliners this year include; Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, City and Colour and more.

“It’s the best case scenario, it’s going to be a beautiful weekend. It’s the perfect, perfect weather for an outdoor event,” said Kerry Clarke, Artistic Director. “We have enough tickets left that people shouldn’t have a problem going down to the gate but we also encourage people, if they’re worried about it to go online and they can order a ticket at midnight or two a.m. They can also order it online on their phone and then they can just scan it when they get here.”

Officials say the festival has a stong foothold in the city and has been able to continue despite tough economic times.

“I think that we’ve grown the festival with small, steady steps and been wise about managing our budget,” said Clarke. “I think that we have a good model for a festival and something people want to come to but I think it’s really been careful management.”

“Slow growth for sure, I mean, we’ve been around for 38 years and they’ve been very methodical about our growth but I think we’ve been really focused on the experience and that’s what we try and do here. We try and make sure that this is just a great four days for people. Try to make sure that it’s a diverse lineup, but it’s a pretty magical place for four days,” said Shayne McBride, Board Chair. “I think that if you keep giving everybody a great experience, I think they’ll come year after year.”

About 12 percent of the festival’s budget comes from grants and community sponsors also help out.

“Our friends of the festival and family and community people have come through and I think we’ve kept that balance too, we’ve haven’t relied on one, big, huge sponsor and if they go away, we’re sunk. We’ve done it, again, with a lot of different people who are supportive," added Clarke.

A number of food vendors are also on site and 24 vendors are part of the artisan market this year, selling clothing and handy-crafts.

Clarke says they expect between 12,000 and 13,000 people each day and that it takes an army of volunteers and supporters to put it all together.

“It’s 1800 volunteers and some really awesome staff, about 10 or 15 staff and the contractors of course,” she said. “Just a labour of love. We have volunteers who take time off and drive and pick up artists from the airport. We have people working the beer garden. We have doctors who volunteer their time and are there in case you get a wasp sting or you’re overheated.”

Festival goers are encouraged to bring sunscreen, chairs, blankets and a jacket for the cooler evenings.

“We have a unique culture here so you set up your tarps and blankets in front of main stage and so you should bring something to sit on, it doesn’t have to be fancy. And also if you’re going to bring a chair, we also sell them, but you can bring the short chairs, think beach chair,” said Clarke.

New this year is the Calgary Folk Music Festival App, which has schedule information, site maps and more.

“So if there is anything really important, we’ll be giving you little push notifications,” said Clarke.

The 2017 Calgary Folk Music Festival runs from July 27 – 30. For more information, click HERE.

To stay up-to-date with the weather, download the Sky Watch Weather App HERE.