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Folk Festival got the folks moving

By Sheroog Kubur, July 29 2022

The Calgary Folk Music Festival is probably the second-most wonderful time of the year, next to Christmas. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the festival whenever it comes around — it invites residents of all walks of life to spend an afternoon lazing on the grass, eating overpriced food-truck foods and enjoying the sights that Prince’s Island Park has to offer. This year was no different — it felt like a much needed breath of fresh air among the unbearable heat this summer. 

While the main attraction of the four-day festival was the music itself, there was an unmatched charm to the entire spectacle of the shows. Performances this year were highly anticipated, ranging from Montreal-natives The Barr Brothers, doing their signature whimsical and experimental sound to Afro-Brazilian icon Xenia França, making waves with her fusion of the sounds of traditional Bahia and contemporary electronica. Despite the cancellation of popular and highly-anticipated performers, each performance still drew sizable crowds — whether they were people dropping by to check out the show or diehard fans excited for what was coming next. 

In typical Calgary fashion, the weekend of the festival was forecasted to rain but the event persisted. It created an interesting backdrop for the festivities, with the opening Thursday being engulfed by sunshine and blue skies, creating a picturesque image of a stereotypical festival. The later days were threatened by constant rain, with grey storm clouds slowly taking over the event — but this didn’t ruin the experience. In fact, the carefree energy of the event was enhanced, with festival-goers adapting to overcome with Folk Festival ponchos and wide-brimmed rain hats. 

A major part of what makes Folk Festival so memorable is the types of people you see while attending — be it children in sundresses jumping around to the music, niche internet micro celebrities, a man dressed as a banana having the time of his life or eager volunteers desperate to sell Spoon merchandise — every single turn brought sights to be witnessed. It was a refreshing way to spend a hot July weekend because there was so much happening all the time. It was easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger or gush about a performance because the community was strong enough to warrant a judgement-free zone. We were all there for the experience beyond the music, and that’s what we all got. 

Even if you’re not a fan of folk music, Folk Festival is still something that should be on your radar. If not for the chance to walk around a stunning park, the undeniable sense of community you feel or the opportunity to find your new favourite artist, then because the festival brings a sense of magic. Seeing the fairy lights among the trees coupled with friends laughing in the nearby grass while music played softly in the distance was serving up the festival fantasy on a silver platter. Folk Festival is the carefree feeling that comes with summer personified and it’s something that should be embraced. Next summer, to truly fulfill the summer experience, consider keeping an eye out for Folk Festival.

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