Sunday, August 12, 2012

Everybody's welcome at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Posted By on August 12, 2012, 8:40 PM

click to enlarge blog8122widea.jpg

We’ve been at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in Edmonton, Canada this weekend. It’s easy to see why some musicians call it the world’s best folk fest, and why Edmonton is known as “Canada’s Festival City” --- with an entire weekend’s worth of acts performing on a stage below a grass-covered hill offering views of the bands backed by Edmonton’s skyline and the river running below it. It looks like this:

click to enlarge festivals_folk_music_festival.jpg
Courtesy Edmonton Tourism 

We could go on and on about acts like Trampled by Turtles, Emmylou Harris, Arrested Development and Mavis Staples and all the other great music, but what really stuck out for us was how this event had something for everybody. Yes, it was for music fans, but it seemed like you could find just about any group of people sitting on tarps on the hill, getting food at the various booths or dancing near the stage.

The festival had every generation, from grandparents to grandchildren, mingling, in part, because there was so much kids could do including dancing in a special area set aside for just that activity near the stage. The festival had a vibe that everybody could just hang out together.

Admittedly, a folk music festival is a unique environment, but travel is often about learning from the way other people do things, and in the case of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, it was a great lesson in how one activity or form of entertainment can become a place where everybody’s welcome. It’s not surprising, since that seemed to be the message we found everywhere here at our neighbor to the north.

Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin write about their treks near and far in City Weekly and online at Listen to their radio show episode about visiting Edmonton by going to or clicking here.

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