Your essential guide to the 2017 Calgary Folk Music Festival

Jul 19 2017, 11:50 am

The Calgary Folk Music Festival is more than just an event – it’s a Canadian institution. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the CFMF consistently lures an array of local and international talent to Prince’s Island Park and the 2017 edition is no exception.

The festival is expected to draw more than 12,000 attendees each day and organizers have created a handy app to help fans navigate their way around the park. By downloading the Calgary Folk Music Festival app, you can find out when your favourite acts are performing, listen to songs from CFMF artists, and even purchase beer tickets in advance.

In addition to more than 60 concerts, the event will also feature a songwriting contest, an artisan craft market, and an appearance by the Calgary Public Library Book Truck. Bringing the little ones? Then be sure to check out Family Zone to make crafts, hear stories, and to have your face painted. Family Zone will also feature performances by Grand Prairie’s Hula Hoop Circus and Calgary duo Rattle and Strum.

Whether you’re new to the folk music scene or you’ve been coming to CFMF for years, we’ve got some tips to help make the most of your festival experience.

Calgary Folk Music Festival

Dates: Thursday, July 27 to Sunday, July 30

Box office & gate hours:

  • Thursday: box office opens at 2 pm, gates open at 4 pm
  • Friday: box office opens at 1:30 pm, gates open at 2 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: box office opens at 8:30 am, gates open at 9:30 am

Record tent & festival merchandise:

  • Thursday: 4:30 pm to 10:30 pm
  • Friday: 2 pm to 10:30 pm
  • Saturday: 9:30 am to 10:30 pm
  • Sunday: 9:30 am to 9 pm

Image: Calgaryfolkfest/Instagram

Artisan craft market:

  • Thursday: 4:30 pm to 10 pm
  • Friday: 2 pm to 10 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am to 10 pm
  • Sunday: 10 am to 7 pm

Beer Garden:

  • Thursday: 4:30 pm to 10 pm
  • Friday: 2 pm to 11:30 pm
  • Saturday: 11 am to 11:30 pm
  • Sunday: 11 am to 10 pm

Where is the festival?

Location: Prince’s Island Park is located in downtown Calgary, right on the Bow River. Main gates are at the east side of the island across the bridge from Eau Claire Market.

Image: Calgary Folk Music Festival

Parking & transportation: There’s plenty of cheap parking available around the Eau Claire district – folks can park for just $3 on evenings and weekends at the Eau Claire Market. There are also several bus routes that lead to the festival and secure bicycle parking is located on-site until 11pm or later every night.


Who is playing at the festival?

This year’s lineup is jam-packed with Canadian and International folk music superstars. More than 60 acts will perform across 7 stages, and the CFMF will host collaborative sessions that will have several artists sharing a single stage.


  • City and Colour
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Blue Rodeo
  • Foy Vance
  • Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin + The Guilty Ones
  • Basia Bulat
  • Billy Bragg + Joe Henry
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • John K. Samson & The Winter Wheat

The complete Calgary Folk Music Festival lineup, including all daytime workshops and concerts, is available here.

What to bring to the festival?

Seating: It’s a great idea to bring a blanket or tarp to lay on the ground, but keep in mind the maximum size of blankets and tarps allowed on-site is 6’x8′. Festival chairs are permitted but your chair’s legs can be no taller than 8 inches (if you can roll a basketball underneath it, chances are it’s too tall).

Clothing: The Calgary Folk Music Festival happens rain or shine so bring weather-appropriate clothing. Hats and sunscreen are always in fashion, and be sure to pack a hoodie for the evening concerts as temperatures can fluctuate up to 20 degrees (this is Calgary, after all).

Food: The CFMF has a great reputation for diverse and delicious meals and it’s all reasonably priced, but attendees are more than welcome to bring their own food as well.

Image: Calgaryfolkfest/Instagram

Drinks: Fans can not bring outside alcohol into the festival, but the event will have a full Beer Garden featuring Big Rock beer, ciders, wines, and sangria. In an effort to reduce waste and recycling, bottled water is not available for purchase on-site; bring your own containers and fill them at the festival’s various Matrix Solutions stations.

Cameras: Amateur photographers are allowed to capture the festival experience with non-professional cameras and phones, but if your device has a detachable lens, you’re prohibited from using it. Fans are reminded to be respectful of other patrons while taking photos and are also asked to comply with an artist’s wishes if they don’t want their picture taken. Check out the CFMF’s Flickr page for professional photos of past events.

Rob FellerRob Feller

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+ Summer