The crowd at the Calgary International Blues Festival
Michael Burks plays amongst the crowd at the Calgary International Blues Festival | Photo: Courtesy of the Calgary Blues Music Association

Calgary International Blues Festival

Celebrate the best of the blues at the 15th annual festival staple

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Location Various Venues 
  • Price Free - $129
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We’ve got the blues and you should too. Celebrating a milestone year, the 15th annual Calgary International Blues Festival features a full week jam-packed with the best of the genre including workshops, special events, nightly dance parties, and a rocking mainstage.

The 2019 lineup includes performances from Amos Garrett’s Modern Blues Quartet, Big Dave McLean, Cash Box Kings, Crystal Shawanda, Curt Young, Jess Knights & the Flat Whites, John Primer, Mark Hummel’s Remembering Little Walter, Russell Jackson, and more. Here are our tips to make the most of it:

Free Events

Want to take part but don’t have a ton of cash? The front half of the week is packed with awesome free events.

From a blues guitar workshop with Tim Williams on July 30 to Blues at Noon with ProArts and A Walk Through Blues History on July 31, you can even party with Calgary Blues Music Association volunteers on July 29.

But the free event we’re most looking forward to is Great Blues North on July 30—Calgary has a great history and passion for the blues, so kick back, relax, and listen to 20th century blues music and stories from award-winning musician and blues music historian Tim Williams.

Mainstage Highlights

Taking over Shaw Millennium Park on August 1, the festival mainstage highlights the best of the genre. Here’s where you’ll see back-to-back-to-back performances from local favourites and headliners alike.

There are even two themed evenings—Thursday and Friday—that you won’t want to miss!

August 1 brings an evening of all-Canadian blues stars including Samantha King & the YEG Trio, David Gogo Band, and Colin Linden while August 2 sees four spectacular Indigenous artists take to the stage—Curt Young, Murray Porter Band, Crystal Shawanda Band, and Micki Free.

Twilight Blues Series

If you’re a night owl with a passion for the blues, this is the series for you!

After the mainstage is done and dusted, wander over to the Kerby Centre (1133 7th Ave. SW) to continue rocking. You can even get up on the dancefloor and let loose. And with all-star jams each night, you never know what you’ll see!

Calgary International Blues Festival runs July 29 to August 4, 2019 with mainstage acts kicking off on Thursday at Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW). The full schedule can be found at