Calgary’s vibrant arts community has a lot to offer throughout the year in terms of music, dance and theatre. But over the summer, the stages roll out for a series of outdoor music, art and culture festivals. This is the time to gather up the family and soak up some of the much-needed Vitamin D and tunes that you were lacking during the school year. Shake off your old tarps and get ready for a summer of festivals in the city.
Lilac Festival (June 4):
Kicking off the month of June is the Lilac Festival. Each year, thousands of people walk down 4th Street from 13th Avenue to Elbow Drive to enjoy food, music, arts, crafts and a parade. Admission to the festival is free and offers over 30 performances throughout the day and over 500 vendors lining the streets to sell their wares. The weather usually holds up and if you need a break from the bustle of the festival, there are always little shops you can hop into and browse with equally lovely deals. Support local artisans and score some sweet finds in music, art, clothes or even jewelry. Visit lilacfestival.net for more information.
Sled Island (June 21–25)
If you’re looking for a festival that fuses music and the arts together across the city, then get your passes for June’s Sled Island Music & Arts Festival. Celebrating 11 years of eclectic festivities, Sled highlights something for everyone in your friend group. The festival even boasts a youth-friendly reputation with more than 50 all-ages events. The 2017 festival is curated by electronic artist Flying Lotus. This year’s headliners were announced on Valentine’s Day, highlighted by hardcore-punk pioneers Converge and Japanese post-punk band MONO. Passes are available online for the 250 acts at over 35 venues. Individual tickets are also available with a select quantity available at the door.
Visit sledisland.com for more information.
The Calgary Folk Music Festival (July 27–30)
Held at Prince’s Island Park, Folk Fest is a Calgary staple. Now in its 38th year, the festival is only growing in popularity and visiting artist scope. Artists will travel to Calgary from all over the world for four days of outdoor music and folksy vibes. Mainstage concerts and collaborative workshops give attendees the chance to get up close and personal with some old and new favourites. This year’s lineup will continue to drop closer to the date, but well-known acts like Blue Rodeo and Coeur de Pirate have already been announced and will be treats for diehard Folk Fest fanatics. Bring a lawn chair, a tarp and feel close to the music in the sun this summer. The festival also hosted “Folkémon Go”, an interactive scavenger hunt to reveal the festival’s line-up with prizes and an exclusive invite to the launch party. Visit calgaryfolkfest.com for more information.
ReggaeFest (August 17–19)
Whether you’re looking for a music festival where you can discover new artists and explore a new genre or you’re just a fan of reggae music, ReggaeFest is a great choice for an August festival before heading back to school. Hosted at Shaw Millennium Park, the festival features international artists and activities including documentary screenings. The festival will give audiences a glimpse into what the reggae community has to offer, including food vendors, live music and beer gardens for those over 18. Artists announced for the festival thus far include Jamaican-born singer Etana and Mexican band Antidoping. More artists will be announced as the festival approaches. Visit reggaefest.ca for more information.