Musical staff

Staff Pick: Fun Summer Festivals


Here are some of the local festivals the Avenue team is excited to discover in and around Calgary this summer.

Sled Island – June 22 to 26, 2022

This music and arts festival was first launched in 2007 and, barring catastrophic floods (2013) or global pandemics (2020, 2021), takes place every year at the end of June. You may have seen posters around town advertising this year’s festival lineup, June 22-26, and if you found yourself scratching your head because you don’t know any of the bands, well you you are not alone. In fact, Sled is even hosting a “But I don’t know any of the bands!” night before the festival, where they screen music videos of acts from the lineup. Sled Island is in many ways a festival of discovery and one of the best parts of it is seeing new musical acts (for you) in familiar spaces: unlike site-specific festivals, the performances are spread between several clubs and stages in the city center. Festival-goers get wristbands that grant access to all events (subject to capacity) so you can stay put or ride around multiple venues (if that’s your plan, you’ll want to have a bike). Before the festival even officially begins, head to the I Love You Cafe on Tuesday, June 21 to check out the annual Sled Island Poster Show, and try to make it to at least one performance at Legion #1 downtown. town – a legendary location that has hosted some of the most legendary sledding shows of the past. — Shelley Arnusch, Avenue Editor

Canmore Folk Festival – July 30 to August 1, 2022

I have small children, which means that all my summer projects are filtered according to specific criteria. Primarily, does the event/venue offer tasty snacks, a place to play, and a kid-friendly vibe? The Canmore Folk Festival ticks all of these boxes and more. Located in Canmore Centennial Park, it takes place over the three days of the August Heritage Day long weekend, from July 30 to August 1. The exciting musical lineup is eclectic and diverse, featuring a mix of Albertan musicians and international acts. And the section dedicated to children includes crafts, puppet shows, storytelling and a climbing wall. The event is only an hour away, but the magical backdrop of the Rocky Mountains makes you feel like you’ve traveled much further. — Meredith Bailey, Custom Publishing Manager

GlobalFest – August 18, 20, 23, 25 and 27, 2022

In the summer of 2014, I was visiting family in Calgary from my hometown in Saskatchewan, and the trip just happened to line up with the GlobalFest fireworks festival. At this annual event, countries around the world put on world-class pyro performances by combining fireworks and music. It blew my 15 year old mind; the fireworks, the food, the culture and even the sheer number of people gathered at Elliston Park. I had never experienced anything like this, and it was that night that I started to wonder what my future would be like if I ever moved to Calgary. I became an official Calgary in the fall of 2019, so I’m sure you can imagine why my next GlobalFest wasn’t until last summer. It happened to be a horribly cold and rainy day, but bad weather never stopped an Albertan, and it certainly wasn’t going to stop me. My friend and I layered up, put on our masks and sipped hot chocolate from where we were snuggled up on my picnic blanket, and then we had as much fun as I had seven years before. — Kendall Bistretzan, Special Projects Intern