From 300 to 60 000: based on the exponential increase in patrons alone, it’s safe to say that the Kaleido Family Arts Festival is firmly entrenched as part of Edmonton’s festival-rich summer.
“It’s grown to be the end of the festival season,” Read Fenton says. “It’s the one that’s a little bit of a cabaret of all the stuff you saw all year, and it’s beginning to become a staple in many people’s minds.”
Fenton has taken the helm of program manager for this year’s Kaleido, which is also the festival’s 10th birthday. He recalls the first Kaleido he attended, back in 2010 when he was performing as a swing dancer; he’s brought that dance back to this year’s festival in the form of a swing dance workshop and social dance hour.
But there’s also so much more than that, for Kaleido takes its multidisciplinary mandate to heart in a way that no other festival does. Stretching throughout various venues along 118 Avenue—some of them traditional stages and others more unusual, like balconies and empty lots—visitors to the festival can enjoy a veritable gauntlet of artistic genres, from music and dance to poetry and theatre to stilt walking and aerial arts. Some of the music headliners this year include Zerbin, Captain Tractor, Eric Dozier and Souljah Fyah, though there’s a full roster of programming throughout the two days of the festival, along with the usual kickoff celebration and lantern parade on Friday night.
“I think the big thing about Kaleido is, if you took all of Edmonton’s festivals and then crammed them into one weekend and then made it free, that’s kind of what you’d get,” Fenton says. “We’ve got, I think, over 200 performances and 800 artists.”
It’s no secret that 118 Avenue is home to the city’s largest concentration of artists. Fenton himself lived there when he first moved to Edmonton and currently works out of the Carrot Coffeehouse. Between Kaleido and the Deep Freeze festival in January, Arts on the Ave has inspired renewed vitality throughout the area.
“It’s a platform for the community to come together in a positive light and start building together,” he says. “Instead of, you don’t have to complain all the time—you can see ways to start building.”
Fri, Sep 11 – Sun, Sep 13
118 Avenue between 90 and 94 Street