Calgary Folk Fest a time to heal with music during economic slump

Posted by Jeremy Simes on 21 July 2016

Calgary Folk Music Festival organizers, like Naddine Madell-Morgan, were busy setting up on Wednesday to kick off the event for Thursday.Calgarians deserve a little bliss after enduring a tough year, according to Calgary Folk Music Festival executive director Debbi Salmonsen.

The Calgary Folk Fest kicks off Thursday in Prince’s Island Park, with popular acts and local artists headlining the four-day event.

Salmonsen said this year’s festival packs a new 50/50 raffle, a mobile library, a half-pipe for skaters, an expanded beer garden with a stage and, of course, great music.

“We have a really fantastic music lineup this year,” she said. “Whether you like your old-time blues, hard-core honky-tonk music, traditional folk or everything in between, we have that.”

The new additions, and the main stage itself, will be much needed given the province’s lacklustre economy, hampering many who call Calgary home, Salmonsen added.

“Calgary and Alberta generally had a tough year,” she said, “and I think this is an affordable way for people to come down, spend the day and feeling part of their communities.

“In a time where people have had some hardship, music is really healing.”

She said the economic slump hasn’t impeded Folk Fest’s ability to showcase musicians.

“The American dollar did affect us a bit, but we were able to book almost the same number of international artists,” she said. “We also have a lot of great Canadian and Calgary artists. I think our artistic programmer has done a great job to bring a fantastic music lineup.”

The weather is forecast to be bright and clear, a nice change from Stampede Week’s wet and grey conditions.

“We’re happy about that because, in Calgary, always expect the unexpected.”

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at, where you can also view headliners. The event runs from Thursday to Sunday.

Salmonsen’s top picks:

Ian Tyson and Corb Lund 

Salmonsen says Tyson and Lund are the perfect pair to close an Alberta festival on Sunday at 1:55 p.m. on Stage 4. “To close an Alberta festival is to have homeboy-done-good Corb Lund closing out the festival,” Salmonsen said. Both Tyson and Lund are considered country poets with easygoing tunes.

The Dudes

A Calgary classic, this local rock band has been around since the ‘90s, entertaining audiences wherever they go. They perform Thursday night at 9 p.m. on Stage 4 and are also involved in some workshops throughout the festival.


Originally from Calgary, BRAIDS is an art rock band that recently won a Juno. The band’s lyrics can be quite confrontational, though their sounds both delve into the acoustic and electronic realm. They close Stage 1 on Saturday at 8:55 p.m.