Soak it all in

By Kevin Rothbauer

Summer in Calgary is rife with festivals. I’ve railed in the past against the disconnectedness of the festival scene, but I’ve since learned to love it. Whether you’re in the mood to celebrate Greek food, Caribbean music or African dance, there’s something going on pretty much every weekend.

To write about each and every summer festival in the Calgary area would take a lot of space, and inevitably something would be left out. Therefore, I’ll focus on the granddaddy of them all: The Calgary Folk Music Festival.

It’s not all “If I Had a Hammer” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Barring death metal, you’re likely to hear nearly every type of music at the folk fest. World music, experimental, pop, jazz, hip-hop and bluegrass have all graced the mainstage or the lesser stages in recent years.

Previously considered the weak counterpart to the Edmonton folk fest, Calgary’s late-July extravaganza has grown into its own over the last couple of years. Last year alone, it attracted such legends as Warren Zevon, Robyn Hitchcock and Peter Case, while exposing the audience to lesser-known acts like Laio, Dan Bern, and Martina Sorbara.

And it keeps getting better. This year’s confirmed acts include the phenomenal Elvis Costello, indie folk star Ani DiFranco, and Kelly Joe Phelps, possibly the best acoustic blues guitarist on the road today.

Usually, the folk fest is blessed with good weather, and the Prince’s Island Park surroundings make for a perfect venue. Of course, food is expensive and space can be scarce (especially in front of the mainstage), but it’s worth it.

The final lineup will be announced on May 22, the day tickets go on sale.

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