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Photo of Weak Knees by Daman Singh, Sled Island 2023.

10 of Calgary’s most exciting festivals to look out for this summer 

By Nazeefa Ahmed, Ansharah Shakil, June 10 2024—

Summer in Calgary means welcoming a variety of festivals that celebrate our local arts and culture scene, helping to pass the long days and warmer temperatures. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to narrow in on what festivals interest you, but this list collects a set of options with something that will appeal to everyone. 

Mural by QMazurkewich Art. Photo by Daman Singh

FunnyFest — May 30-June 9

Stand-up comedy lovers should not miss the 24th annual laugh-fest hosted by the FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival Society. With 11 shows and over 70 performers, there is something for everyone, with tickets each night ranging from $17 to $27 — on Jun. 5, teachers and essential workers are admitted for free! Enjoy an affordable night of entertainment while supporting local talent such as Kelly Taylor and Brian Stollery. 

Fairy Tales: Queer & Art Film Festival — June 27-30

Hosted by the Calgary Queer Arts Society, the festival will showcase seven features and 33 short films and, for the first time, a marker’s market and exhibition — the society is currently looking for artists to exhibit or sell their work at the festival. Enjoy a weekend of queer representation in film through the decades at the Grand, downtown Calgary’s oldest theatre. Ticket prices are to be announced.  

Sound Atlas Music Festival — June 27-29

This year is the second annual Sound Atlas Music Festival, co-presented by Latitude 49 and Land’s End Ensemble and taking place at Contemporary Calgary. Showcasing both local and international artists, this music festival caters to diverse tastes after its initial success. Each day will feature numerous concerts as well as pop-up performances, celebrating composers and sound musicians. The three days are jam-packed with concerts to attend to, and the lineup and tickets can be found on the Sound Atlas Festival website

Photo of Sled Alley by Daman Singh, Sled Island 2023.

Calgary Folk Music Festival — July 25-28

Known for being one of Calgary’s most well-established music festivals, the family-friendly Folk Festival is taking place once again at Prince’s Island Park for its 45th anniversary. It celebrates not only folk music, but genres like jazz and indie, among others. This year the impressive 72-artist line-up includes artists like The Roots, KT Turnstall, Fantastic Negrito, Ben Howard and Billie Marten. 

Photo from Folk Festival by Daman Singh, 2023.

Calgary International Blues Festival — July 29-Aug. 4

The 20th anniversary of Calgary Blues Festival will begin with a series of workshops and events before delving into its performances at Millennium Park, followed by its nightly Twilight Blue dance parties. The festival itself is family-friendly, while the Twilight Blue events are 18+. This year there will also be an Arts Market with locally handcrafted items. It’s a festival that celebrates the blues and can appeal to anyone who loves the genre or loves to dance.

Calgary Fringe Theatre Festival — Aug. 2-10

Supporting multi-disciplinary theatre artists, Fringe Festival encourages our local theatre community by providing a place where people are free to enjoy all sorts of productions. It considers itself a Boutique Fringe Festival, meaning it’s for a smaller, more eclectic audience, and makes for a unique experience. Details about tickets and the upcoming line-up will be posted by July 1. 

The 2024 BUMP Festival — Aug. 3-18

BUMP Festival paints the walls of the city with murals by local and international artists. It includes guided tours, an annual Graffiti Jam, an Alley Party and artist talks. Community-led and experimental, it celebrates public and street art by integrating it into our everyday living. It’s a festival you don’t necessarily have to commit to — you can go all-in by attending the events and tours, or you can just pay attention to the murals around the city.

Chasing Summer — Aug. 3-4

After a summer of working and studying, you deserve to splurge on one festival this season, and with the line-up this year including Illenium, DJ Snake and Canadian DJ deadmau5, this is a weekend you don’t want to miss. The festival will be held at the Bell Max Center grounds and has already begun to sell out so grab your tickets while you can! 

Muslim Heritage Day Festival — Aug. 17 

Attend Calgary’s largest Muslim festival, an annual event packed with food trucks, perfume and clothing vendors, a petting zoo and fundraisers for local and international causes. Since 2010, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Calgary has been hosting this festival to showcase Muslim culture and heritage as well as the diversity of the Calgary community. The best part is that entering the grounds is free!

GlobalFest —  Aug 15-24

Celebrate the diversity of Calgary during a weekend of fireworks, performances and international food. This year, the festival will celebrate Spain, Brazil, Mexico, the United States and finally conclude with Canada. Day tickets are as low as $15 while weekend passes are $58 — if you purchase presale tickets, they are only $10. Support a non-for-profit organization committed to facilitating conversations around racism through educational programming while viewing a light show that never ceases to amaze!

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