Festival Survival Guide

Festival Survival Guide: Alberta

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Music

Lethbridge Jazz Festival / Wed, Jun 10 – Sat, Jun 13 / lethbridgejazz.com
Now in its fifth year, this fest celebrates the hot jazz music that’s been happening in Lethbridge for decades. The community has an active jazz scene, including the Lethbridge Big Band and the University of Lethbridge Jazz Ensemble. This year’s artists include the Carol Welsman Trio, Marcus Mosely, Kat Danser and more. (Various venues)

Farmageddon / Wed, Jun 11 – Sun, Jun 14 / farmageddon.ca
Sure, there are lots of festivals, but how many are metal festivals located next to a paintball course? Shredding near Ryley, east of Edmonton, Farmageddon is the biggest open-air metal fest in western Canada. There’ll be more than 30 bands—and paintball. (Ryley)

North Country Fair / Fri, Jun 19 – Sun, Jun 21 / northcountryfair.ab.ca
NCF proudly bills itself as the smallest of Alberta’s major folk fests. Family friendly, around 5000 people go to Driftpile to soak up the good vibes and peaceful gathering. This year features dozens of bands, rappers, solo artists and children’s entertainers. (Driftpile)

Astral Harvest / Thu, Jul 2 – Sun, July 5 / astralharvest.com
Head back to Driftpile, this time for this community-minded hippie love fest. An international lineup of dozens of DJs, hip-hoppers, folkies and more will keep the crowd moving on four different stages. Interactive programming means you can take workshops to learn new skills and expand your mind. (Driftpile)

Wild Mountain Music Festival / Fri, Jul 17 – Sun, Jul 19 /wildmtnmusic.ca
Organizers bill this as the most beautiful festival site on earth. That’s bold. Granted, it is at the Entrance Ranch, nestled in the foothills north of Hinton with stunning mountain views. Get your toes tapping with Del Barber, Ridley Bent, Billie Zizi and headliner Corb Lund. (Entrance Ranch)

South Country Fair / Fri, Jul 17 – Sun, July 19 / southcountryfair.com
Located on the banks of the Old Man River near Fort Macleod, this is advertised as a rural, peace-oriented affair—so expect chill vibes. But that doesn’t mean you’ll fall asleep: there’ll be poets, art films, street performers, hot rock ‘n’ roll and knee-slapping fiddling. This year features Steve Dawson, OKA, Leeroy Stagger and the Wet Secrets. (Fort Macleod)

Sasquatch Gathering and Music Festival / Fri, Jul 24 – Sun, Jul 26 / sasquatchgathering.com
Nestled on Rangeton Park along the Pembina River, Sasquatch is turning 20 this year with its signature family friendly and environmentally conscious operating style. How family friendly? They do a potluck dinner on Saturday. Dozens of bands and artists to generate good times. (Rangeton Park)

Canmore Folk Fest / Sat, Aug 1 – Mon, Aug 3 / canmorefolkfestival.com
This is the longest-running folk fest in the province, 38 years and counting. And, nestled in an impossibly scenic mountain town, it’s also one of the best. Lots of great acts this year including Bahamas, Amelia Curran, Harry Manx and Old Man Luedecke. (Centennial Park)

Culture / Heritage

Spock Days / Fri, Jun 12 – Sun, Jun 14 / vulcantourism.com/spock-days.html
Live long and prosper your way down to Vulcan for the 23rd-annual Spock Days. Expect Star Trek celebrities, costume contests and many photo ops with the town’s Starship FX6-1995-A. This will be a poignant Spock Days since Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, passed away earlier this year. (Vulcan)

The Hills are Alive Music and Dance Cultural Fest / Fri, Jun 19 – Mon, Jun 22 / miywasin.ab.ca/cultural.htm
This is a celebration of Alberta’s proud Métis heritage with dance, music and cultural experiences. Jig along with talented musicians, play traditional games and learn about Métis crafts and leatherworking. Held at the scenic Whispering Pines camp near Elkwater. (Elkwater)

Haying in the ’30s / Sat, Aug 1 – Mon, Aug 3 / hayinginthe30s.com
This annual demonstration of pre-Second World War farming has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer support. Check out the rural community of Mallaig and learn the skills that prairie folks needed to survive before electricity: wood splitting, knife making, sheep shearing and more. And yes, there’s an old-fashioned hoedown. (Mallaig, by donation)

 

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