Calgary Folk Fest reveals lineup including The Jayhawks, Fishbone, Feist

Posted by Dave Breakenridge, The Calgary Sun on 23 April 2014

Tarpies, take note.

The Calgary Folk Music Festival has unveiled its lineup for 2014 — and it runs the gamut of music styles, from alt-country to afrobeat with many stops in between.

Headliners include The Jayhawks, Andrew Bird and The Hands of Glory, afrobeat musician Seun Kuti, and ska-punk combo Fishbone.

The July 24-27 show at Prince's Island Park also features Calgary-raised artist Feist, who teams with AroarA and Snowblink to form indie supergroup HYDRA.

While there isn't what some would call a huge star on the bill, the festival's artistic director Kerry Clarke says it's an extremely varied lineup filled with "icons and upstarts," that would normally draw a few thousand if they would be performing a solo show in town.

“If we could get Bruce Springsteen, we'd get Bruce Springsteen," Clarke said.

“Trying to get an artist that could fill the Saddledome is like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer.

“What we're really going for is trying to cover the history of folk music."

And she hopes there is enough variety that people walk away from the fest with a new favourite artist.

“That's what warms my heart, when people say I’ve never heard of them and I love that." Clark said.

With a growing number of festivals across the continent, and some events paying huge amounts of cash to book talent, there is a lot of competition, even within the city, Clarke said.

“It's a challenge, but we have a good reputation and artists want to come here," she said.

In addition to Feist, the mainstage lineup features a host of Canucks, including Hey Rosetta!, Bruce Cockburn, Great Lake Swimmers, Rufus Wainwright and Matt Andersen.

"We like to have a solid list of Canadian headliners," Clarke said.

The festival kicks off Thursday night with upbeat bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles, folk-blues singer-songwriter Valerie June, quirky Newfoundland rock outfit Hey Rosetta! and Chicago indie-pop crooner/violinist Andrew Bird and the Hands of Glory.

Friday night seems like party night on Prince's Island, with a mainstage lineup headlined by Fishbone.

“(Fishbone) fits with what we've done over the years. They're in the same realm as Arrested Development,” Clarke said. Fishbone has been around since the late '70s, and blend ska, reggae, funk, rock, punk and soul.

“It's a lot of fun,” she added.

The Friday night mainstage lineup is rounded out by Canadian folk rockers Great Lake Swimmers, soul singer Lee Fields & The Expressions, and singer-songwriters Rufus Wainwright and Amos Lee.

Saturday night's mainstage is headlined by the Seun Kuti, son of legendary afrobeat artist Fela Kuti. The mainstage also features Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, American folk artist Patty Griffin, Jason Isbell, who was also a former member of Drive-By Truckers, experimental guitarist Arto Lindsay and roots artist Lone Bellow.

The Festival closes out Sunday with a mixed bag, including HYDRA and The Jayhawks, book-ended by Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali, who opens the night, and New Brunswick blues guitarist Matt Anderson, who is performing with the Mellotones.

The festival will also also be running the Twilight Stage Thursday-Saturday, and features Basia Bulat, Art Bergmann, A Tribe Called Red, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Art Bergmann, Waco Brothers and Chad Vangaalen.

The festival will feature five stages on the island, as well as a public stage at Eau Claire, plus a public market co-ordinated by the market collective.

The full list of more than 70 performers can be found at

Tickets go on sale Thursday.

Calgary Folk Fest Lineup

Thursday, July 24

Mainstage 5:30-10 p.m.

Trampled by Turtles

Valerie June

Hey Rosetta!

Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory

Twilight Stage (Stage 4)

Basia Bulat

St. Paul and Broken Bones

Art Bergmann

Friday, July 25

Mainstage 6-11:45 p.m.

Great Lake Swimmers

Lee Fields & the Expressions

Rufus Wainwright

Amos Lee


Twilight Stage 6-10 p.m.

Debo Band

A Tribe Called Red

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan

Saturday, July 26

Mainstage 5:30-11:30 p.m.

Lone Bellow

Arto Lindsay

Jason Isbell

Patty Griffin

Bruce Cockburn

Seun Kuti

Twilight Stage 6-10 p.m.


Waco Brothers

Chad Vangaalen

Sunday, July 27

Mainstage 5:30-10 p.m.

Noura Mint Seymali


The Jayhawks

Matt Andersen and the Mellotones