Festivals by the Dozen

Twelve Late Summer Festivals

Hit the streets, the parks and a variety of artistic venues to feel the vibe of Calgary, meet some of its million or so diverse residents and be wildly entertained (and well fed too).

Calgarians love a good festival. That’s why we have one pretty much every week all spring, summer and fall, with a few thrown in over the winter.

Celebrate the middle of summer with a never-censored and always adventurous collection of new theatre. The Calgary Fringe Festival (July 29 – Aug 6) is running 27 productions over nine days in Calgary’s historic Inglewood. Find out why the Fringe is billed as "Unexpected, Uncensored and Unforgettable Theatre."

Little Feat
Little Feat at the Blues Festival
The International Blues Festival (Aug 4 – Aug 7) brings together 25 artists at Shaw Millennium Park for a great outdoor celebration of this important and influential musical genre. From well-loved Alberta based artists to international recording stars such as David Clayton Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears, this festival will cure even the most stubborn case of the blues.

New Orleans comes to Calgary for the day at Marda Gras (Aug 8) in Marda Loop, in south central Calgary. This street festival features Zydeco and loads of other live music, more than 100 street vendors and plenty of Cajun food and fun.

Indulge your taste buds and experience the flavour of 30 restaurants with a Taste of Calgary (Aug 12-15) at Eau Claire market in downtown Calgary. Local musicians serenade you as you wander around sampling great food and drink.

Afrikadey! performance
Music, culture and fun at Afrikadey!
This year’s Afrikadey! Festival (Aug 9 – Aug 14) features K'naan, the Canadian-Somalia artist made famous around the world for his song Wavin’ Flag. Afrikadey! brings a celebration of African culture – art, dance, food, music and more – to Prince’s Island Park, a beautiful park in downtown Calgary.

Just a few blocks away, in Calgary’s vibrant Chinatown, play a game of Mah-Jong and check your fortune, or watch a Lion Dance and Chinese Opera while feasting on authentic Chinese food – all at Calgary’s Chinatown Street Festival (Aug 14). This one-day festival packs in at least a month’s worth of Chinese culture.

Delve into Caribbean culture, food and Reggae music at the Calgary International Reggae Festival (Aug 19 – 21). Artists from as far away as Jamaica and as close to home as Calgary bring the best of Reggae to Calgary.

Stunning firework competition at GlobalFest
GlobalFest (Aug 20 – Aug 28) is a multicultural festival and international fireworks competition in Elliston Park in east Calgary. Take in 24 different cultural pavilions and a dozen kiosks with food from around the world, and then end the day watching incredible fireworks. GlobalFest is culture with a bang.

Get ready to tango at Expo Latino (Aug 27 – Aug 29), a celebration of Hispanic music and dance. Opening ceremonies are at Olympic Plaza, then the party moves to Prince’s Island Park for a weekend of live Latino music. Bombazo – billed as the “Hottest Latino Dance Party” – shakes things up on Saturday night. The last weekend of the summer is guaranteed to be hot, hot, hot.

ShineFest is a full-day family festival (Aug 28) showcasing well-known children’s performers and kid-focused activities. Hosted at Canada Olympic Park, this is a paid event – but family passes are available and give you wide access, making the festival a relatively inexpensive way to try some of the park’s popular summer attractions like eurobungy, the climbing wall, mini golf and the Spiderweb – a 10-floor obstacle tower.

Calgary Pride Parade & Street Festival (Sept 5) gets people of all genders, sexual orientations, and walks of life to come together in a show of acceptance and equality for all. The colourful parade marches through downtown Calgary at ends at Olympic Plaza, where the Street Festival begins.

red carpet
Red Carpet at the Film Festival
See the best new films from around the world, and Alberta, at the Calgary International Film Festival (Sept 24 – Oct 3). One of the "top 25 film festivals in the world worth your entry fee" according to MovieMaker Magazine, CIFF’s lineup is always relevant and topical, illuminating and entertaining. The festival also boasts red carpet events, complete with celebrities.

You name it, we have a festival to celebrate it; from reggae and blues to fireworks and film, you can always get your fest on in Calgary.