festivalsthumbHere is your guide to some of the best festivals in yyc! Whether it is for the fireworks, diversity, vibrancy or simply spending time with friends & family. Find out where, when, how much, & what has changed from previous years.

Folk Music Festival / Advancer with Reuben and the Dark

July 23 – 26 @ Prince’s Island Park

Reuben Bullock, lead singer of the rock, indie, alternative band Reuben and the Dark, have not only have boomed in their hometown Calgary over the past three years. They have been touring all over North America, and their latest album, Funeral Sky, is produced by none other than Chris Hayden, who has produced for Florence & the Machine, Nicki Minaj and Madonna.

 And Reuben and the Dark got their start right here at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in 2012.

“It was the very first show that we were called Reuben and the Dark so it was a pretty special festival for us,” says Bullock on the phone from Toronto, where the band has a week off after playing a few shows in the past couple of weeks in Banff and Ottawa.

“The support was just amazing, it was definitely at the time the most people we ever played to. It was really magical and a really strong start for us, gave us a lot of confidence. It’s going to be really nice to go back and do it again.”

reubenReuben Bullock of local band Reuben and the Dark.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.In one day at the festival in 2012, the band played six or seven shows, from the morning until the early morning the next day – four at the festival on Prince’s Island, after parties, and sneaking out to play at HiFi.

“That day goes down in the history of the band as the most shows and the most exhausted and potentially drunk we’ve ever been on stage. We were in such a good mood that it was like, ‘Another show? Sure why not!’”

They’re even playing with some of their buddies at this year’s Folk Music Festival, The Wooden Sky right before Reuben and the Dark, and Shakey Graves right after – making the shows that much more heart-breaking to miss.

“We’ve spent time on the road with both of those guys; it’ll be really fun. I think it’ll be like a big family jam.”

But the music isn’t the only thing to be excited about during the festival that celebrates original, independent artists and will be marking its 36th anniversary this year. There are nine stages featuring more than 70 artists from over 16 countries, promising random collaborations and songs being traded between artists.

Artistic Director Kerry Clarke describes Prince’s Island Park as a mini town for the four days.

“Ours is a cool, relaxed vibe with a diverse audience that ranges from hip-hoppers and folkies to CEOs and babies to octogenarians,” Clarke says. “So it enhances people’s experiences and expands their horizons, providing a welcome escape and outlet.”

Calgary has come together to make this festival happen for the past few decades — 1,800 volunteers and a small staff work together to provide global culinary options, a family area with entertainment and interactive activities, an international craft market, a record tent, tree-shaded beer gardens and the Talk Tent, a recent addition with panels and comedy.

festivals6Calgary Folk Music Festival 2011.

Photo courtesy of Larry Kwan, licensed to Creative Commons.Everyone can come and go as they please also from the grounds with their wristbands, which is rare for festivals as usually once a person leave, they are not allowed re-entry.

Artists come from around the globe, so this is not a festival to miss out on. Clarke says, “From influential artists who began making music in the ’60’s to innovative artists whose music was created in the past decade, the festival is a wonderful journey into the heart and soul of the roots and evolution of the music we like to call folk.”

To see the other amazing artists coming to this years Folk Music Festival and other details visit


August 5-8, 2015 @ Prince’s Island Park

Afrikadey! World Music Festival celebrates an explosion of music, food, dance, theatre, film, literature and art that are rooted in Africa.

The all-ages festival will take place in various locations around the city for four days but the main event, the World Music Festival, will happen on the last day, Aug. 8, at Prince’s Island Park.

Presented by the Afrikadey! Arts & Culture Society, the Afrikadey! World Music Festival has been a Calgary favourite for more than 20 years and it is a celebration for all Calgarians.

The Afrikadey! World Music Festival will feature a variety of musical genres that all can enjoy.

Calgary based recording artist Yemimah will perform on the Afrikadey! main stage on the last day of the event this year, and she couldn’t be more excited.

“This is my first time, I’m super excited and can’t wait for this! I want to put on the best performance I possibly can. I’m thankful to be a part of this community,” she says. “Performing at an event like this means the world to me. Like I said, I am an African girl, and being Afro Canadian I want people to know I represent both sides and that Canada is so diverse.”

However, the purpose of Afrikadey is not only to celebrate cultural heritage through live music, art galleries and amazing African cuisine, but to also celebrate diversity.

Yemimah says that this is why Afrikadey is such an important part of Calgary’s culture as well.

“This festival, I believe, is important to Calgary because we are such a diverse city, we are such a mosaic and it’s important to showcase every culture we have here so we can all support one another and know that there are all kinds of people in the city,” she says.

The Afrikadey! Music Festival is sure to bring out the vibrancy and showcase all that Africa has to offer, but also the colourful culture here in Calgary.

Advanced general admissions tickets are $25 ($30 at the gate). Admission is free for those 12 and under, and 65 and over.

For more information about the Afrikadey! festival go to


August 20 – 29 @ Elliston Park

At the very first GlobalFest, in 2003, there were 100,000 attendees. Twelve years later, the non-profit society is still one of Calgary’s biggest attractions.

Under the name GlobalFest there are a variety of family events, such as International Fireworks, activities from TELUS Spark, bouncy houses, trampolines, and for the rest of us (though who doesn’t like bouncy castles and trampolines?) there are alcoholic beverages from around the world in the OneWorld Cafe and International Bar. The OneWorld Festival has so much to offer every day also, with different communities showcasing their culture through music, dance, activities, dress and so much more.

festivals7Fireworks at GlobalFest 2011.

Photo courtesy of Brian Uhreen, licensed to Creative Commons.There is even one evening for a citizenship ceremony, when participants are “welcomed into the Canadian family and they accept the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship,” according to the GlobalFest website.

Adam Phillips, marketing and communications co-ordinator for GlobalFest, suggests Calgary is such a fast-evolving community and the growing diversity should be celebrated and promoted.

“[The festival] allows the many ethnicities and backgrounds that make up Calgary’s diverse population to come together and share their culture with one another,” Phillips says.

“As the city grows and becomes more populous, our government, schools, and communities become more diverse,” he adds. “We want to promote the cross-cultural communication that makes Calgary such a beautiful and inviting place to live.”

He says the theme this year is “Parade of Champions” – each night will showcase a previous winner of the past fireworks festivals, including Canada, China, Philippines, Spain and the United States.

Ten days of dance, music, culture, fireworks and international culinary options — awesome.

Regular general admission passes are $20.00.

More information available at


August 22 @ Shaw Millennium Park

Carifest is an annual festival held in Calgary that showcases the arts, cuisine and culture of the Caribbean.

Organized by the Caribbean Community Council of Calgary (CCC), Carifest is one of Western Canada’s most anticipated events this summer.

“The Caribbean Community Council of Calgary, organizers of Carifest Calgary was incorporated in 1981 which makes us 34 years,” says Kamar Wilks, marketing lead at the Caribbean Community Council of Calgary.

Carifest is comprised of two main events: a parade at Olympic Plaza at 11 a.m. followed by the Sunshine Festival at Shaw Millennium Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This year will feature local and international talent, says Wilks.

“We strongly believe in showcasing local acts as a part of our festival. We will also be entertaining the crowd with bands from other provinces as well as local dancers. Our international acts are Ricardo Drue, Olantunji and Rupee. All are from the Caribbean and will also headline the after party”.

Both are free to attend.

For one day the city of Calgary will be feeling the island vibes and as the Carifest slogan goes, people will be “Movin’ to Da Riddim”

For updates on Carifest please visit for additional details.

Pride Calgary

August 28 to September 7 @ Shaw Millennium Park

Festival season is still strong in YYC as September rolls around and Pride Calgary 2015 is no exception. As one of the most anticipated festivals, Pride Calgary showcases the strength and accepting nature of Calgarians from all walks of life.

The LGBTQ+ community, along with their supporters, will take to the streets from Aug 28. to Sept. 7 to celebrate 25 years of Calgary LGBTQ+ Pride.

The event, which is sponsored by ATB Financial, will feature a number of activities. However, Pride Calgary 2015 will end with the annual parade and a festival.

Due to a greater number of participants and increased community support for the Calgary Pride Parade, the event has moved from its usual starting point of Stephen Avenue and 8th Avenue.

The parade will now start at noon on 9th Avenue S.W. where a diverse crowd of Calgarians will walk in solidarity to the Calgary Pride Festival at Shaw Millennium Park.

According to the Pride Calgary website, this new parade route will allow for bigger and better entries, as well as increased safety for spectators and participants.

The event is free for all to attend.

For more information check out the Pride Calgary website


September 5 & 6 @ Fort Calgary

XFest has only been around since 2011, but it has fast become one of the country’s biggest alternative music events put on by X92.9 Calgary’s Alternative and Union Events.

Christian Hall, Operations Manager & Program Director at X92.9 Calgary’s Alternative says that it was an easy decision when talk of the festival first began.

“The city deserves one,” says Hall. “Calgarians shouldn’t have to travel to experience a festival like X-Fest. It’s a young city with a passionate fan base for Alternative.”

festivalsThe Arctic Monkeys at last years XFest.

Photo by Ali Hardstaff.Last year the city was fortunate enough to see international sensations Jack White, and Artic Monkeys as the headliners, and so many others including YYC veterans Tegan and Sara, Death Cab for Cutie, fast up and comers July Talk (who decided to blow everyone’s minds by having an audience member propose to his girlfriend onstage) Fitz & the Tantrums and oh so many more.

This year’s line-up includes Tenacious D, Alexisonfire and Ellie Goulding as the headliners, with Hozier, the Flaming Lips, Mother Mother (who are no strangers to Calgary or XFest), Tokyo Police Club, K-OS, TV on the Radio, and several others joining them.

Though not everyone was happy when Ellie Goulding was announced, as her music could be classified as pop, not alternative.

Hall says that many fans have embraced it, whereas some others were thrown for a loop. But there have always been pop performers – just not headlining.

“The reasoning is simple. For us to grow this festival to an even larger vision for the future, we need to expand our fan base much like many of the other large festivals around the world. A larger attendance allows for us to think even bigger for future years to come.”

More information available at

For Pemberton Music Festival (July 16 – 19), Squamish Valley Music Festival (August 7 – 9) & Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts (July 31 – August 2), Stay tuned for the stories from our reporters as they experience some of Canada’s greatest festivals with some of the worlds best artists. With line-ups like these, saving up for airfare to Québec or camping in beautiful British Columbia on top of the ticket price is beyond worth it. When was the last time Missy Elliot toured?!

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