Three different summer festivals kicked off this past weekend in Edmonton, drawing throngs of people to Old Strathcona.
Whyte Avenue Art Walk, Found Festival and Edmonton International Street Performers Festival sprawled through the neighbourhood as festival-goers took in art, music and street performers.
The overlap between all three festivals – a fourth, Sand on Whyte, is wrapping up this weekend – is appealing for some people, such as Sam Rollans.
Rollans, who attended the festivals with his wife and three young children, said he loves it.
“It’s just, everywhere you look, there’s something else going on,” he said.
“There’s some other people doing their own thing. There’s artists making beautiful art. There’s people doing fringe-like street performances. There’s friendly people everywhere.”
Rollans doesn’t mind that the festivals all coincide.
“There’s not always a lot of chance, especially in the winter, to get a feeling for the city as a community. It’s nice to meet all sorts of different people.”
Shelley Switzer, artistic producer for the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, said the event is happy to share with the other festivals.
“The fact is, that with that much variety, audiences can really get a fantastic festival experience,” she said.
“They can head to Sand on Whyte. They can move around and maybe even go to Art Walk.”
Switzer was asked whether she would like to see the festivals more spread out across the summer calendar.
“Don’t you think fun’s a good thing? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to consume as much fun as possible?” she said.
Megan Dart, co-festival director for Found Festival, also enjoys the festivals all coming together.
“It’s actually been really fantastic having all four festivals overlap this weekend. Old Strathcona has been bustling with patrons coming and going,” Dart said.
Dart said it feels like attendance at Found Festival is up from years past and it’s possible that the other festivals contributed to that.
“I think sharing this neighbourhood with the other festivals has done wonders,” she said.
The Whyte Avenue Art Walk used to occupy McIntyre Park, but with the Street Performers Festival using that space this year, the event moved onto 105 Street and 81 Avenue.
“We’ve only heard people loving our street closures,” said Kim Fjordbotten, producer for the Whyte Avenue Art Walk.
“Old Strathcona is bigger than people expect. We know how to handle the arts.”
Like her counterparts, Fjordbotten doesn’t seem to take issue with the overlap between the multiple festivals.
“I was really concerned but I mean, we’re separate enough. Our identities are enough. I think it’s been really good,” she said.