Calgary Folk Fest Preview: July 23-26

Set for another weekend of live tunes, CFUR's Music Department is packing up its festiFolkFest Logoval attire (i.e. tie-dye scarves, cowboy boots and a Camelbak) and heading down to the 36th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival, which runs July 23-26. If you've never been, Calgary's folk fest takes place on an island park in the downtown called Prince's Island. Festival-goers stay for the day and the keeners (called tarpies) line up bright and early each morning with their maximum 6' x 8' tarps to grab a much-desired spot in front of the mainstage. Tarpies at Calgary Folk FestAs well as a mainstage (obviously), festival amenities include six workshop stages, food trucks (including mini-donuts), a beer garden serving Calgary's own Big Rock on tap, an artisan marketplace, a bike parking lot, and approximately 12,000 friends to party with.

The lineup is fabulous this year, taking a bluegrass/country/roots edge. Here is a list of CFUR's must-see artists. See if you can match them with the one-word descriptions on the right.



  1. 1. Petunia and the Vipers                                                                      Legend
  2. 2. The Wooden Sky                                                                                  Plucking
  3. 3. Kid Koala                                                                                                   Calgary's-own
  4. 4. Father John Misty                                                                                Wacky
  5. 5. Pharis and Jason Romero                                                                Saxophone
  6. 6. Dragon Fli Empire                                                                               Kazoo
  7. 7. Socalled                                                                                                     Grammy
  8. 8. Colin Stetson                                                                                         Canadiana
  9. 9. Esperanza Spalding presents Emily's D+Evolution         Scratch
  10. 10. Buffy Sainte-Marie                                                                             Hazy




1. Old-Fashioned, New-Fangled: Seems like a wild mix, but oh man, this workshop could be legendary. Dragon Fli Empire, Leftover Cuties, Petunia and the Vipers, Kid Koala.

2. Provincial Boundaries: I'm guessing this is because the artists are all from different provinces? EMBASSYLIGHTS, Hawksley Workman, Frazey Ford, Jenn Grant.

3. Strung Along: Strings of many shapes and sizes. Pharis and Jason Romero, EMBASSYLIGHTS, The Crooked Brothers, SÖNDÖRGO.

4. The Girls Next Door: Pretty self-explanatory, a girls-only jam :) Sera Cahoone, Jenn Grant, Leftover Cuties, Scarlett Jane.


Some friends are volunteering there this year, so if I'm lucky, I will tag along as their guest to the famed volunteer after-parties held every night after the site closes. One of my most memorable festival moments was seeing C.R. Avery's volunteer after-party back in 2011. In the "quiet" room, C.R. Avery had none of that and got everyone up dancing and crowd-surfing and rocking out into the wee hours while the sound guy slept, zonked out in his chair. Epic night. Time for a repeat.


Article by Alycia Mutual