Find out how to get probably the most out of a Canadian people pageant –


Musicians play onstage on the Edmonton People Music Pageant [Travel Alberta/EEDC]

Summer season is right here, which suggests it’s formally folk-festival season. The custom of the Canadian people music pageant is sacred to many Canadian music followers and, for many people, is taken into account probably the most important a part of the Canadian summer time.

There are people festivals — large and small — being held all through Canada this summer time, however probably the most heralded are the large Western Canadian people festivals in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

These festivals all tackle an identical mannequin: over the course of a weekend, artists play small live shows or jam collectively in “workshop” performances on a collection of small phases after which the viewers convenes in entrance of a important stage within the night to observe the headline performers. Every pageant has its personal peculiarities and particular person line-up of artists, however the experiences are all pretty comparable.

Regardless that these festivals have been round for a very long time (the Calgary and Edmonton people fests are each have a good time their 40th anniversary this yr), they nonetheless stay mysterious and intimidating to newbies. If you happen to’re a first-timer, listed here are some tricks to maximize your folk-festival expertise:

Increase your definition of “people music”

Dusk falls at the Calgary Folk Music Festival

The Calgary People Music Pageant takes place annually at Prince’s Island Park [Tourism Calgary]

Whether or not you’re a fan of Pete Seeger and predict to see comparable singer-songwriters strumming alongside to protest songs otherwise you assume that conventional people music is just not your cup of tea, you’re going to be stunned by the music you’ll discover at these people festivals. Most of them have expanded the definition of “people” to incorporate conventional music from across the globe and modernized variations of Americana, nation, jazz, reggae, blues, hip-hop, pop and different genres.

This yr’s festivals characteristic headliners as numerous as Somali-Canadian rapper Ok’naan (Winnipeg), American alt-folkie Ani DiFranco (Edmonton), Can-rocker Sam Roberts (Vancouver) and Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian (Calgary).

Be a tarpie

One of the controversial and complicated facets of conventional people festivals is the tarp system. People fest veterans will line up for hours to be the primary by means of the gates after which will lay a tarp in entrance of the principle stage, which secures their spot in the course of the day as they go watch performances on the facet stage. Folks usually honour one another’s tarps and whereas the system could be irritating for individuals who don’t perceive why the artists scheduled early within the night could also be taking part in to a area of empty tarps, it’s a system that works when you’re used to it.

If you happen to can’t line-up early, it’s nonetheless value laying a tarp down in direction of the again finish of the principle area — it provides you’re a house base if you happen to’re assembly with household or buddies and likewise a spot to sit down and calm down and eat lunch and dinner. Additionally, there’s no “unhealthy spot” at a people pageant and with large screens set-up you don’t must be too near benefit from the music.

Get to know the location

Friends share a beer at the Calgary Folk Music Festival

Pals take pleasure in a while within the beer backyard on the Calgary People Music Pageant [Travel Alberta / Mike Seehagel]

These festivals usually happen in park areas with phases unfold out amongst facilities like youngsters’ areas, artisan tents, meals vans and beer gardens. Seek the advice of a map of the location to orient your self — planning a plan of action and avoiding having to wander round aimlessly will make for a greater expertise. That stated, stumbling upon artists that you could be not have been planning to see can also be a fantastic a part of folk-fest tradition.

Don’t skip the workshops

Maybe you acquire your ticket considering you’d catch a few solo side-stage live shows after which a number of the important headliners, however the side-stage workshops are the place the actual magic occurs. The time period “workshop” is a bit deceptive — artists don’t “work” out songs in these periods. Fairly, a bunch of curated artists take turns taking part in their tunes, whereas the opposite musicians onstage take part when applicable. Have you ever dreamed about seeing Danny Michel, Hawksley Workman and The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian all taking part in collectively on a small stage? Properly, you’re in luck — it’s occurring on the Saturday of this yr’s Winnipeg People Fest.

Respect the volunteers

One factor to notice: these festivals are virtually wholly run by volunteers, so be respectful to the folks taking your ticket, recycling your rubbish, serving your beer and serving to you discover a spot on your tarp — it’s probably that none of them are getting paid. People festivals are pop-up communities and the extra you embrace that group, the extra enjoyable you’re prone to have.

Plan your 2019 summer time of people fests: The Winnipeg People Music Pageant takes place July 11 -14 at Birds Hill Provincial Park; the Vancouver People Music Pageant will likely be at Jericho Seaside Park from July 19-21; the Calgary People Music Pageant occurs July 25-28 at Prince’s Island Park; and the Edmonton People Music Pageant rounds out the season on August Eight-11 at Gallagher Park. Test native listings for different people festivals being held all through the nation.


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