The Calgary Folk Music Festival welcomes artists from all over the world, but there’s nothing like showcasing artists “from our own backyard,” for artistic director Kerry Clarke.
“We’re very much community-based with the volunteers and also with the artists,” Clarke said.
“It’s really nice to sort of pay attention to what’s happening in Calgary and in Alberta and find artists that we think are really kind of earned the right to be on our stages and are ready to play and are ready to collaborate with our artists with pretty long careers and international artists.”
Here’s a look at the artists from Calgary and elsewhere in Alberta taking to the stages for the 40th anniversary of the folk festival.
Boots & the Hoots (Calgary and Red Deer)
Boots & the Hoots take the stage with an old-timey, classic country vibe for festival-goers to enjoy.
The trio have been travelling Western Canada for the last few years bringing their “hardcore country” to their growing fanbase.
“Two guitars, a doghouse bass and crying in your beer — nothing could be better for passing the time, longing for a simpler time with simpler music and the crackle of country sounds on an old AM radio,” the folk festival said.
You can catch Boots & the Hoots on Saturday at 1:50 p.m., and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 1:50 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
Emily Triggs (Calgary)
Emerging as a solo artist following years of playing around Calgary as part of a band, Emily Triggs brings an air of folk artists from the 60s and 70s when she performs.
“Her music, while rooted in folk, also encompasses country, blues and some good, old rock ‘n’ roll. It is classic and contemporary in equal measure,” the folk festival said.
Triggs performs at the Calgary Folk Music Festival on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 12:55 p.m., and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.
Fast Romantics (from Calgary, now Toronto based)
Originally hailing from Calgary, but now based in Toronto and with a few different hands on the instruments, Fast Romantics will hit the stage with a pop vibe to get people on their feet.
“Fast Romantics may not be returning to Calgary in the same form that they left, but with such a strong repertoire of pop anthems in their pocket, they’re always welcome home,” the folk fest said.
See Fast Romantics on stage Saturday at 3:20 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. as well as Sunday at 3:20 p.m.
Freak Motif (Calgary and Montreal)
Seeing Freak Motif on stage together is more than just a “full-on groove-out and danceable” music treat, as the group’s members don’t even live in the same city.
The instrumental, funk band brings in influences from Afrobeat, Latin, hip-hop and soul music to their performances.
“Be ready for a few surprises (break dancers, circus performers, conga lines, they’ve all been thrown into the mix) and the irresistible temptation to get up and sway along to the groove,” the folk festival said.
Get your dancing shoes on and catch Freak Motif on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday at 11:55 a.m. and 1:55 p.m.
I am the Mountain (Calgary)
While the Calgary Folk Music Festival might be happening in a tree-filled park in the middle of the city, I am the Mountain will transport you to a different view with their “late-night campfire soul songs that once whispered between the pines in Kananaskis.”
“The horn-accented songs of I Am The Mountain are the most pleasant and reliable in a city with a maelstrom of eclectic indie,” the festival said.
I am the Mountain perform at the Calgary Folk Music Festival on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 11:25 a.m. as well as Sunday at 11:25 a.m.
Kat Danser (Edmonton)
“Low-down swampiest of southern guitar blues” — that’s what you can expect when Edmonton, Atla., musician Kat Danser takes the stage.
“Danser has been married to the blues since she was young,” the folk festival said, adding that she not only performs blues tunes but actually studied it as part of her PhD in ethnomusicology.
Catch Danser and her smooth sounds on Friday at 4:30 p.m., Saturday at 12:20 p.m. and 4:20 p.m., as well as Sunday at 11:25 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Lab Coast (Calgary)
Lab Coast brings effervescent, lo-fi pop nuggets to audiences who come to see the group made up of several well-known Calgary musicians.
“The songs are deliberately short, catching listeners in mid-headbop until the next song starts up,” according to the Calgary Folk Music Festival. “As brief as they are, their songs still contain semi-orchestral surprises: breathing room, unexpected bridges and winsome harmonies.”
Lab Coast performs Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:25 p.m., as well as Sunday at 12:55 p.m.
Samantha Savage Smith (Calgary)
Samantha Savage Smith is no stranger to the Calgary Folk Music Festival, having first performed in 2011 and also taking the stage as part of the 2019 Block Heater Festival.
“Smith’s jazz-inflected voice stands alone, wavering enough to sell the contrast between its sweetness and her sometimes-bitter subject matter,” the festival said.
“Samantha Savage Smith is the indie queen Calgary needs now more than ever, and the best part is she never left.”
Festival-goers can see Smith play on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:25 p.m. as well as Sunday at 11 a.m. Smith also performs with Lab Coast.
Shaela Miller (Lethbridge)
Sheala Miller’s classic country music will take you from the city to the small Alberta town saloon when she takes the stage.
What started out as rock music when she was a teen turned to a country music passion by age 16 and has stuck for 10 years.
“You can count Miller among the new generation of country singer-songwriters, having sidestepped the Top 40 side of country in favour of her unique noir approach, with an achingly beautiful voice to match,” the folk festival said.
Miller performs at the 40th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival on Saturday at 3:20 p.m., and Sunday at 11:25 a.m., 12:50 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
WATCH: Kerry Clarke with the Calgary Folk Festival joins Global News Morning Calgary to discuss the line-up and what is being done to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary.
T. Buckley (Calgary)
Another veteran of the Calgary Folk Music Festival, T. Buckley brings “easy” sound to the stage when he performs.
“Buckley’s unafraid of taking musical risks, shedding old songs, old sounds, and heck, even old looks,” the folk festival said.
Buckey performs on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., as well as Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.
The Torchettes (Calgary)
The Torchettes’ music is described as “reinventing the image with a sassy, gritty, garage-rockabilly 21st-century take” on jazz and blues.
“More than anything else, the Torchettes deliver inspired, intense music that seduces the audience with sultry, dulcet tones and then knocks them sideways with a full-throttle attack,” the folk festival said. “The musical effect is mesmerizing and delicious.”
See The Torchettes Saturday at 11:55 a.m. and 1:50 p.m., as well as Sunday at 1:50 p.m.
The 2019 Calgary Folk Music Festival takes place from Thursday, July 25 to Sunday, July 28 at Prince’s Island Park. Tickets and more festival information can be found on the festival website.