Celebrating diversity in music at the Calgary Folk Music Festival

Author: Claire Bourgeois

The 38th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival is next weekend - an opportunity for the Calgarians to exchange their cowboy boots for Birkenstocks and take to Prince’s Island Park for four days of live music.

With headliners including City and Colour, Barenaked Ladies and Blue Rodeo, the weekend is sure to be unforgettable. However, the true magic of Folk Fest comes from the diversity represented in the festival lineup. The unique variety of performances from all over the world reflects the diversity and multiculturalism found within our city, making the weekend a celebration of what makes Calgary such a great city – our differences.

With so many performers with such varied backgrounds and styles, navigating the festival can feel overwhelming. To help navigate the festival, I’ve compiled a list of shows, featuring artists from both home and abroad, that I will be sure to see this year.



Combining Hip-hop with jazz in a totally unique way, Toronto quartet BadBadNotGood have built a career off of their willingness to take chances and push the limits.


Leif Vollebekk

Synethesia: a neurological condition resulting in music being sensed visually – often in colours. This condition, affecting Vollebekk and found in musicians including Lorde and Pharrell, is the reason his piano-based ballads feel so transcendent. This Montreal musician's performance is sure to be a sensory experience not to be missed.


Choir! Choir! Choir!

More of a community experience than a performance, Choir! Choir! Choir! involves the audience by handing out music and teaching harmonies to the collective group. The result? A beautiful shared experience transcending cultural, political and socio-economic divides.


Chouk Bwa Libète

For something entirely different, check out this group from Haiti. Encompassing the use of traditional instruments, lyrics and dance, the group will bring a taste of the Caribbean to the prairies.


100 Mile House

Some of my favourite favourite folk festival memories are of the time spent stretched out on a blanket in the sun. Let his Alberta-based husband/wife duo provide the perfect soundtrack for your lazy afternoon before things start to heat up later in the afternoon.


Foy Vance

Hailing from Northern Island, this singer/songwriter's strong storytelling capabilities evoke feelings of nostalgia and adventure.


For tickets, information and the full festival lineup, click here.

Back To Top ▲