A handmade travel guide to Western Canadian Folk Music Festivals.
You’re travelling Western Canada and the Candian Rockies in summer? You want to do something off the beaten path? Something the locals do? Or you are local but not a big fan of hiking up a mountain or floating down a river in summer? But you love music, people and artisan markets? One thing I can highly recommend is to attend one of the many Folk Music Festivals that happen all over Western Canada! The first ones start in June and the last ones end in September, plenty of chances for you to stop at one on your travels.
This is one of the things I love most about being an independent artisan, I get to travel to festival all summer long and listen to fantastic music while hanging out in my little booth and talking to customers. And if I’m lucky and have my husband Guillaume or another friend and helper with me, I get to walk around and connect with other like-minded people. Yes, sometimes it rains, sometimes the music is too loud, sometimes the line up for the “real” toilets is too long and I have to use porter potties but the atmosphere and experience makes up for all of that.
This year I went the Wild Mountain Music Festival close to Jasper National Park in Northern Alberta, the Calgary Folk Festival, the Regina Folk Festival and the Canmore Folk Festival. Luckily I had Guillaume with me at the Canmore FF and he took some brilliant photos, so I can show you what it’s like. Canmore is located in Alberta, just South of the Banff National Park and therefore a great stop on your way to the Rockies.
One thing that seems particular to Western Canadian Folk Festivals is that people come early, rain or shine, with their camping chairs, tarps and drinks so they can just sit down, relax and listen to the music. There is also a dancing area but really, the majority is sitting.
Most festivals have a beer garden in which you can have a drink or a smoke (if you want to give in to your unhealthy addictions). You can see the stage and watch a show while having a beer or wine. I like that. But seriously, even though I’ve been to so many festivals and arts & craft shows, I can’t get enough of the artisan markets. People make so many gorgeous things! And here in Canmore it was especially beautiful with a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
I must admit, I have been obsessed with the stilt walkers. They were there last year already and they’re awesome! I was so excited when I saw them again this year. So wonderfully creepy!
If you don’t know where to stay, I would always recommend camping! It’s just the ultimate Canadian thing to do in summer. But in case you don’t have access to a tent, just book a room in the next hotel or hostel and you’ll be ready for a weekend filled with fun and music. If you can’t make it to one of those that I attended this year, there are also wonderful folk music festivals in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Jasper and even Dawson City in the Yukon. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet you there next year!
If you have any questions, please comment below or just send me an email!
With love from the Maple And Oak Diaries,