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things to do calgary

Calgary Ultimate Summer Festival Guide

By RACHAEL FREY

Are you all about the tunes? Focused on food? Looking for new experiences? Calgary’s summer festivals have it all!

Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary

FOR THE MUSIC FANS

CALGARY FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
From July 26-29, over 70 folk music artists from 14 countries perform, including Neko Case, Rhye, Stars, Lee Ann Womack and Clinton St. John. Many performers participate in collaborative sessions, improvising and riffing music never heard before or again.

TERMINUS FESTIVAL
Not in the mood for sunny skies? From July 27 – 29, head underground to Terminus, a festival specializing in dark electronic, synth and industrial music. Performers are coming from all over the world, among them TR/ST, Mesh, Leaether Strip, iVardensphere, Boy Harsher and Die Scum Inc.

CALGARY INTERNATIONAL BLUES FESTIVAL
From July 30-August 5, enjoy non-stop music including nightly dance parties — world-class blues music reigns supreme at this fest, featuring artists such as Dawn Tyler Watson, Popa Chubby and BB King’s Blues Band.

CHASING SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL  
From August 4-5, Martin Garrix and DJ Snake are headlining at this year’s Chasing Summer, western Canada’s biggest EDM festival, and they’ll be joined by many more. The festival is 18+ due to a site-wide alcohol license.

COUNTRY THUNDER MUSIC FESTIVAL
Ready the bandanas and cowboy hats for this country music bonanza from August 17-19. This huge outdoor festival features headliners Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Eric Church and other big names.

Photo: courtesy Taste of Calgary

FOR THE ECLECTICS

CALGARY FRINGE FESTIVAL 
From August 3-11, expect the unexpected at this uncensored, non-juried theatre festival. See more than 160 performances over nine days — performing artists receive 100 per cent of the ticket revenue. Located in Inglewood, all theatres are within walking distance of each other.

INGLEWOOD SUNFEST
There are activities for all ages at this warm-weather fest on August 4, from bouncy castles to summer patios to street performers to a Show and Shine, as well as more than 200 vendors. Take the opportunity to check out some of Calgary’s hottest boutiques and eateries.

TASTE OF CALGARY
Discover the global cuisines of Calgary from Cajun to Indian from August 9-12, with dozens of eateries selling samples of their most mouth-watering food and drinks. There’s also a music stage and a foodies stage with cooking demos.

MARDA GRAS STREET FESTIVAL
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll on August 12 at this free, New Orleans-themed street festival featuring cultural performers, dance and music, and outdoor activities. This family-friendly fest has a kids area, unique shopping and lots of tasty food.

GLOBALFEST 
The skies are set ablaze with a jaw-dropping, five-night international fireworks competition reflected in the placid water of Elliston Lake. On the ground, enjoy food vendors, a night market, live performances and cultural heritage pavilions. From August 16-25.

Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary

FOR THE CULTURE CRAVERS

MEXIFEST
Take in the culture, cuisine, music and folklore of Mexico at Mexifest from July 6-7. The entertainment will include authentic luchadores from Mexico City, a 12-piece mariachi band called Mariachi Internacional Sol Azteca and more.

FIESTAVAL FESTIVAL LATINO
Latin American culture is at the centre of this free, multicultural arts and entertainment festival from July 20-22, featuring plenty of music and dance, brightly coloured costumes, food and shopping vendors and more.

CALGARY JAPANESE FESTIVAL “OMATSURI” 
An omatsuri is a traditional Japanese festival, and Calgary’s version on August 11 features traditional music and dance, martial arts demonstrations, arts and crafts, food and sake tasting.

CALGARY DRAGON BOATRACE AND FESTIVAL
Dragon boat racing is an ancient tradition that encourages comradery, teamwork and inspiration. With more than 4,000 spectators and 1,850 competitors, the dragon boat race is a can’t-miss spectacle combined with cultural entertainment, food and activities. From August 11-12.

EXPO LATINO
Arriba! Presented by the Hispanic Arts Society, this outdoor festival on Prince’s Island Park from August 17-19 features world-class music, dancing, a food fair, a beer garden and an arts market.

CARIFEST CARIBBEAN FESTIVAL 
The festival kicks off with a spectacular parade that pays homage to the splendour of Caribbean masquerade, followed by a whirlwind of music, dance, food and crafts celebrating the culture and diaspora of the Caribbean. On August 25.