Second only to The Calgary Stampede in its size and cultural importance as a summer festival, the 2012 Calgary Folk Music Festival invades Prince’s Island Park July 26 through 29.
Though festival attendance is rite of summer treasured by dedicated, perennial fans, the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s talent roster is a serious draw as well. Rock ‘n’ roll crooner Chris Isaak is the consummate showman; piano troubadour and film-score composer Randy Newman exists in his very own American folk music genre; and Saturday-night headliner Gillian Welch (in duet with guitarist Dave Rawlings) turn country music into something sweet and soulful. Backing the veteran performers, a serious number of must-see up-and-comers includes another duo: indie alt-country performers Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet of Whitehorse. Also riding indie lines are former Neutral Milk Hotel member Jeff Mangum and alt-crowd favourite Iron & Wine.
Where Calgary recommends alt-country sweetheart Lindi Ortega, the guit-steel twang and baritone honky tonk of Junior Brown, the Southern Gothic blues of Cold Specks and local rockabilly trio Eve Hell & The Razors. Also highly recommended is the comedy of Kids in the Hall alumnus Kevin McDonald, who will perform in the Apache Talk Tent. —Ian Doig, Editor, Where Calgary