Calgary Folk Music Festival

Courtesy of Calgary Folk Music Festival; photos by Sebastian Hanlon; Frank Gasparik; and Doug Callow
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Summary Info Festival StoryFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region CanadaAlberta
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Festival Contact Information

The Folk Festival Society of Calgary
P. O. Box 2897 Stn M
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3C3 Canada
Phone: 403-233-0904
Fax: 403-266-3373

Festival Description

The annual Calgary Folk Music Festival is a four-day family-friendly cultural and musical jamboree at beautiful Prince’s Island Park featuring over 60 artists hailing from 15 countries on 7 stages to daily audiences of 12,000. Most artists perform several times at the Festival, in concerts and sessions (jams/round-robins). Also included are a beer garden, family area with entertainment and activities for kids, international arts and craft market, international food concessionaires, and a record tent.

Festival Dates July 25 - 28, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Story:

The Festival is about great music and good spirits. Kids get in free, and they’ll love the family area, featuring theatre, magic and music. Stroll through the international craft market displaying the work of independent vendors; visit the record tent to take home artists’ music; have a cold beverage in the tree-shaded beer garden; enjoy superb food from around the world from our concessionaires. From plate recycling to secured bicycle parking and covered viewing areas for the disabled, it’s a comfortable site for all. There’s plenty of shade, a relaxed atmosphere (what other festival allows you to bring your own picnic?) and more musical diversity than you can imagine.

You like blues? We’ve got it. Prefer celtic or traditional music? We’ve got plenty of that too, plus roots, world music, cutting-edge sounds, bluegrass, funk, country, hip-hop, dub, old-timey, and more. See artists in concert on the evening mainstage or 6 other more intimate stages, where sessions bring together musicians in unpredictable and magical collaborations that can become celtic kitchen parties, country hoe-downs, Southern Baptist tent revivals, singer/songwriter song swaps, world music collaborations or all-out blues jams.


Festival Events:

Lineup 2013:
  • Alabama Shakes
  • Garland Jeffreys
  • Shakura S’Aida
  • Shawn Colvin
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Loreena McKennitt
  • Albert Lee
  • World Party
  • Mary Margaret O’Hara
  • Over the Rhine
  • The Dunwells
  • Jordie Lane
  • Samantha Martin
  • Sarah Neufeld
  • Rachel Sermanni
  • Amylie
  • Bahamas
  • Elliott BROOD
  • Grant Lee Phillips
  • Sandro Perri
  • Thus:Owls
  • Evening Hymns
  • Haram
  • Aziz Sahmaoui & University Of Gnawa
  • Minor Empire
  • Fanfare Ciocărlia
  • Danny Michel with the Garifuna Collective
  • Mamselle
Highlighted Artist 2013:
  • Garland Jeffreys
    • Since his 1969 debut, Brooklyn-born, African-American/Puerto Rican vocalist/songwriter Jeffreys has been hard to define: Is he a protest singer who likes reggae, or a rocker who likes the darker shade of blues? He grew up loving doo-wop legend Frankie Lymon, hung out with Lou Reed in college and has worked with a wide range of artists, including Dr. John, Sonny Rollins, James Taylor and Linton Kwesi Johnson. A quintessentially New York edgy urban poet, confessional singer-songwriter and explorer of rock, race and rebellious links, his songs have been covered by many, including punk pioneers The Circle Jerks and neo-folk band Vetiver. His recent album The King of In Between marks a return to the rootsy sound of his earlier works. For additional information visit
  • Shakura S’Aida
    • Brooklyn-born, Swiss-raised and Toronto-based singer and actress Shakura S’Aida’s musical chops are deep and wide. Starting as a singer with world music band Kaleefah, she’s meandered musically through pop, folk, soul and jazz and acted in theatre, film and television. Her entrancing performances convey the classic themes of heartache, loss, humour, love, humiliation plus a core of fire and steel that says ‘this too shall pass’ and ‘I will survive’ with a bring-it-on strut; she is the real deal. For additional information visit
  • Shawn Colvin
    • All Fall Down, Shawn Colvin’s recent release, is produced by her longtime friend and occasional band-mate, guitarist Buddy Miller. The sessions were a back-porch bonhomie that brought in stellar musicians, including Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter and fiddler extraordinaire Stuart Duncan. Artfully pared-down arrangements mirror the compelling emotional directness of Colvin’s songs that examine some hard cold truth and portray a sense of loss, redemption and resolution. As always, the frankness in Colvin’s work is tempered by humour, sensuality and a gift for finding strong, simple melodies. For additional information visit
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter
    • A string of platinum albums, chart-topping singles, and an unprecedented series of four consecutive Grammy awards all signalled Mary Chapin Carpenter’s meteoric rise into the foremost ranks of American country’s female stars in the ‘90s. Her place in the pantheon is secured by her lustrous voice and some of the most atmospheric and moving songs in country and roots musics’ vast canon. For additional information visit
Artist feature 2013:
  • Jordie Lane (Australia)
    • Australia’s Jordie Lane is set to embark on an extensive Canadian tour in support of his brand new live album Live At The Wheaty, which will be released exclusively in Canada on July 9th. The album will premiere through online streaming service Deezer on July 2nd. Watch new live video Lost In You live.
    • Lane will travel from East to West, playing 14 club dates alongside performances at Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival and Calgary Folk Festival. He will be joined by numerous special guests around the country including Ben Caplan, Barney Bentall, Carolyn Mark, and The Weber Brothers. This will be Lane’s debut Canadian tour, and he is celebrating in style, releasing Live at The Wheaty as a world exclusive. Recorded on April 21st in Adelaide, Australia, Live at The Wheaty captures Lane solo and acoustic, featuring his trademark rhythmic finger picking style, storytelling, off the cuff banter and one of indie-folk’s finest voices.


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Practical Info:

  • Prince’s Island Park
    Located in downtown Calgary, north of the Eau Claire Market footbridge.
Greening initiatives:
  • This past year we instituted our SEEQ policies to formally develop procedures that focus on limiting our footprint at our beautiful downtown park location. The Calgary Folk Music Festival is committed to walking our talk: we want to make sure our environmental footprint is minimized, and our cultural impact is maximized. Our dream and our goal is to be part of leading-edge creativity and results around ethical and sustainable business as usual. As we began articulating our vision of ethical sustainability, we recognized four guiding principles that already go into decision-making at all levels of the organization. And although emphasis on each of the pillars is flexible, all four form the basis of our philosophy.
    • Social responsibility—We acknowledge and embrace our existence within the context of Calgary, Canada and the global community. We believe in the power of music to create growth and dialogue between people, and we wish to work from this strength and passion, to reach out to the vast diversity of the Calgary, Canadian and global village, building bridges and enhancing accessibility between groups and individuals wherever possible.
    • Economics—We wish to be a self-sustaining entity, charging a fair and affordable price for our service. We wish to respect other organizations and individuals, paying a fair price for their labour and goods.
    • Environment—We deeply value the natural environment, and are committed to doing our best to reduce our ecological footprint in whatever ways we can. We wish to provide an environment for the festival that does not create a burden for the city in terms of environmental impact, and we strive to create and use appropriate technology to achieve this end.
    • Quality—Music is our passion, as is community. We wish to continue to successfully bring the music of “folks” from around the world to our fair city, during our festival and year round, celebrating diversity, independence, creativity, excellence and the exchange of music and ideas. For feeding over 1300 volunteers plus 9 000 daily audience members, we have instituted a long-running plate recycling program, plus on-site composting and beer cup recycling. Our concessionaires are required to use compostable cutlery. We operate on green power through the wind power program and carbon credits with our provincial energy company, and we have free, secure bike parking.


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