Coronavirus: Calgary Folk Fest brings music to Albertans, hosts virtual ‘happy hour’ performances

The Calgary Folk Fest is scheduled to take place on July 23-26. Calgary Folk Fest

As social distancing becomes the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calgary Folk Fest is looking to cure isolation blues with virtual performances.

The organization announced it’s new initiative, the Isolation Station Happy Hour, on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony musicians play virtual performance during coronavirus self-isolation

The festival’s artistic director, Kerry Clarke, said the virtual performances will bring together local and international artists for musical collaborations amid the pandemic.

“We’ve been talking about the creative ways arts organizations have shifted the live experience to digital,” Clarke said.

“The variety show format we landed on complements our programming. It’s a collaboration between local, national and international artists sharing songs and stories.”

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Clarke said the organization hosts year-round programming to connect audiences with artists across the globe, but due to the pandemic, many of those events have been put on hold.

She said this new initiative hopes to continue to provide that musical connection to audiences during the pandemic.

“The Festival’s year-round programming is all about bringing audiences together with artists in intimate music experiences,” she said.

“Collaborations between artists is central to our festivals and concerts. So the aim is to keep the relationships between artists, the festival and audiences going.”


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The weekly “happy hour” performances will be live-streamed on the group’s Instagram page every Thursday at 4 p.m. MT.

The first performance will see the Edmonton artist, St. Arnaud, International hip-hop duo, Sargeant and Comrade and Vancouver native Dan Mangan join forces during the “virtual happy hour” on April 16.

“They’re all very stoked,” Clarke said.

“They love the connection to the festival and linking with their fellow creative artists.”

READ MORE: Keeping cultured through COVID-19: Edmonton music, comedy, improv shows switch to live stream

The initiative was created in partnership with ATB Financial and Big Rock Brewery. So far, Clarke said four Instagram “happy hours” are in the works.

“Right now we’ve scheduled four [happy hour sessions] with three artists in each — two Alberta artists and one Canadian or international artist.”
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The Calgary Folk Festival is scheduled for July 23 in Calgary, as of right now, the event has not been postponed.

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