Fall Festival Guide 2016
Four-To-Six returns to Stephen Ave. once again as Beakerhead hits the streets this September | Photo: Curtis Anderson

Fall Festival Guide 2016

From spectacle to cozy and intimate, fall brings them all

Amy Jo Espetveidt

Summer might be coming to a close but that doesn’t mean that festival season is. In Calgary, we squeeze every drop of time we can outside before it gets too cold, and even that doesn’t stop our festivals. They just move inside.

Between now and the end of November there are more than 30 taking place, so grab your calendar and start planning.


Calgary Pride Festival

Until September 5, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

An entire week of events celebrating Calgary’s LGBTQA community peaks with a huge parade and street festival. Join in for concerts, plays, parties, history walks, panel discussions, and more.

Fiesta Filipino

September 2 & 3, 2016
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

Celebrate Alberta’s vibrant Filipino community with food, arts, entertainment and crafts.

Calgary Highland Games

September 3, 2016
Springbank Park for All Seasons (32224A Springbank Rd. SW)
$14 – $61

One of the oldest gatherings in North America, the games were first held in 1913. With competitors from across Western Canada and USA, its your chance to see some of the world’s top pipers, drummers, dancers, and heavy event athletes compete and perform.

X-Fest Calgary

September 3 & 4, 2016
Fort Calgary (750 9th Ave. SE)
$99.50 – $229.50

Get ready to rock with a lineup that includes Twenty One Pilots, The Lumineers, Halsey, Vance Joy and Arkells.

BBQ on the Bow

September 3 & 4, 2016, starts at 12:00pm
Montgomery Community Association (5003 16th Ave. NW)
Free, all-ages

Get ready to get your nom on while enjoying some rocking bands at BBQ on the Bow. This year’s musical lineup includes Bownesians, Peter and the Wolves, South Side Groove, Boogie Patrol and more.

Calgary Chinatown Street Festival

September 4, 2016, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Impark Lot behind the Chinese Cultural Centre (2 St. & Riverfront Ave. SW)
Free, family-friendly

Back by popular demand, this family-friendly event features the familiar sights and sounds of cultural performances, a kids play zone, as well as merchants and food tents.

Illuminasia Lantern and Garden Festival

September 8 – October 16, 2016, Thursdays – Sundays, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Calgary Zoo (1300 Zoo Rd. NE)
$15 – $24

Featuring authentic Chinese lanterns, this festival returns to the Calgary Zoo for a second year. The 2016 festival highlights the four seasons and visitors have the opportunity to experience authentic Chinese entertainment and multicultural programming.


September 8 – 11, 2016
Multiple locations
Free – $55

It might be Canada’s International Festival of Piano, but if you simply love music, you really should check out Honens. This year look for recitals, concerts, a performance of the longest piano piece in history, and much more during the four-day festival.

35th Annual Alberta Dance Festival

September 8 – 10 & 15 – 17, 2016
Victor Mitchell Theatre, Pumphouse Theatres (2140 Pumphouse Ave. SW)
$20 – $60

Presented by Dancers’ Studio West, the 35th Annual Alberta Dance Festival features new works from 10 Alberta contemporary dance choreographers using Bold Moments in Time as inspiration. Each week features two distinct programs of performance.

Circle the Wagons

September 10, 2016, 11:00am – 11:00pm
University District South Park (see website for location details)

A traveling circus full of food, beer and music, check out this unique day full of art and performance. This year there are two stages featuring more than 23 artists, a food truck alley, roaming performances by Cirque de la Nuit and more.

One Love Music Festival

September 10 & 11, 2016
Elliston Park (1827 68 St. SE)
Ticket prices vary

It’s Western Canada’s largest hip hop festival and this year you can catch Big Sean, Logic, Tyler the Creator, Jazz Cartier, Universe Soul Dance crew and so much more.

El Grito Mexican Fiesta

September 10, 2016, 4:00 – 8:00pm
Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1 St. SW)

Join in and celebrate Mexican Independence Day with this fun evening complete with traditional dancing, activities and food.


September 14 – 18, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Back for year number four, this smash up of art, science and engineering has more than 60 events that you can explore and many are free! Last year, more than 110,000 people took part in exhibitions, performances, workshops and more.

Handbuilt Motorcycle Festival

September 15 – 25, 2016
Torch Motorcycles (914 Centre Street North)
Free events,  $10 entry for races & rallies

Creativity takes all sorts of forms and it will certainly be on display at this unique festival. Featuring motorcycle builds, mods, restorations, and franken-bikes from Calgary’s most compelling builder, riders, and enthusiasts, there’s also a popular culture focus on engineering and design with a film series, artwork, apparel, build education programs and presentations.

Calgary Greek Festival

September 16 – 18, 2016
Calgary Hellenic Society Community Hall (1 Tamarac Cr. SW)

Celebrate Greek culture at this annual festival full of music, dance, wine and food.

Equinox Vigil

September 17, 2016, 6:30 – 9:30pm
Union Cemetery (enter from Spiller Road)

A graveyard might be the last place you’d expect to find live music and performances, contemporary art installations, but that’s what the Equinox Vigil is. Back for the fifth year, this unique evening creates an atmosphere of community camaraderie including work from Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett, Eveline Kolijn, Sue Goyette, the Threshold Choir, and the Union Choir.

Calgary ArtWalk

September 17 & 18, 2016
Throughout Calgary (download map)

Setting out to highlight the expanse of visual art within Calgary, check out this festival that is open to everyone. Participating venues include studios, cooperatives, artist run centres, and both commercial and public galleries. The weekend offers a great chance to check out the exhibitions and special events like artist talks, book launches and demonstrations.

Calgary International Film Festival presents the World Premiere of the local documentary film Elder in the Making | Photo: Rachelle Ashcroft

Last year the Calgary International Film Festival presented the World Premiere of the local documentary film Elder in the Making | Photo: Rachelle Ashcroft

Calgary International Film Festival

September 21 – October 1, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Film lovers, get ready for 12 days of gala events, screenings, special presentations and more as CIFF gets underway. This year expect to see up to 200 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and over 40 other countries. There’s even a Behind the Screen series allowing for unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact.

Calgary Oktoberfest

September 23 & 24, 2016
Big Four Building, Calgary Stampede (1410 Olympic Way SE)
$19 and up, 18+

Oktoberfest might be full of beer and food but there’s also German music, dancers and games making it a well-rounded celebration and well worth checking out.

Doors Open Calgary 2016

September 24, 2016
Throughout Calgary

Ready to get a peek behind the doors of Calgary institutions? Doors Open invites buildings in all quadrants to let Calgarians in for free and many offer tours, special activities and behind-the-scenes experiences.

YYComedy Festival

September 26 – October 1, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Back for the fifth year, an anniversary celebration calls for some big names. Coming to this year’s festival are acts including Jessica Holmes, Ron Sparks, Brent Butt, stand­up icon Janeane Garofalo, and even Dave Foley, Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald of Kids In The Hall fame.

CAMP Festival

September 27 & 28, 2016
Theatre Junction GRAND (608 1st St. SW)
$99 – $299

Presented by Digital Alberta, CAMP celebrates creative technology, art and design and brings together professionals, artists, and students to shape experiences that educate, challenge and inspire. It’s all about embracing digital culture.

The Print It Yourself Festival

September 30 & October 1, 2016
Multiple locations

Join Alberta Printmakers for its sixth annual Print it Yourself Festival. There’s a free day of printmaking workshops as well as an additional demonstration day at the City of Calgary’s Culture Days Block Party.



October 7 – 16, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Yes, Wordfest puts on events all year round but it all comes together for this 10-day festival of wordy goodness. Its goal is simple, spark lively, illuminating and meaningful conversations between Calgary’s readers and the world’s most engaging writers. And this year’s festival looks outstanding.

Fluid Movement Arts Festival brings contemporary art, dance and physical performance to Calgary audiences | Photo: Courtesy of Springboard Performance

Fluid Movement Arts Festival

October 13 – 29, 2016
Multiple locations
$15 – $45

With a bold spectrum of contemporary dance and physical performance, this festival features a great lineup of performances, workshops, artist talks and happenings. All meant to inspire and connect, Fluid Fest offers a chance to indulge your own dance curiosity.

Wide Cut Weekend

October 13 – 15, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Calgary’s roots festival returns with three days of rocking music in venues across Calgary. With a lineup including Del Barber, The Joe Defendants, Leeroy Stagger, Petunia, T. Buckley Trio and so many more, you know you won’t want to miss it.

Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival

October 14 & 15, 2016
BMO Centre, Stampede Park (20 Roundup Way SE)
$18 and up

If you love food and drink, then this is the festival for you. Celebrating the art of Calgary’s culinary community, the 19th annual festival brings together wines, spirits, liqueurs and appetizers for a taste sensation.

Calgary International Burlesque Festival

October 14 – 16, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

A little bit of titillation never hurts and this festival has it in spades. With headliners including The Mahogany Queen of Burlesque, Blanche DeBris, Judith Stein and a neoclassic burlesque showcase, you won’t want to miss it.

Mountain Standard Time Festival (M:ST)

October 21 – 26, 2016
Multiple locations
Free – $15

Alberta’s only biennial festival of performative art returns for its eighth edition this October. M:ST celebrates innovative and critical performative art from Southern Alberta and also features lectures, film screenings, panels discussions, exhibitions, and interactive workshops. And if you’re in Lethbridge, check it out October 1 and 2, 2016.

Fiesta! Latin American Classics Festival

October 28 – November 5, 2016
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons (205 8th Ave. SE)
Ticket prices vary

Each year the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra presents a fabulous festival and for 2016 they’re exploring compositions from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and beyond. Fiesta! concerts will be led by Music Director Laureate Roberto Minczuk.


Doc Soup Calgary

November 2, 2016
Cineplex Eau Claire (200, 200 Barclay Parade SW)
$68 subscriptions

This monthly feature-length documentary series is presented in partnership between the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) and Hot Docs. And its ninth year kicks off this November with a screening on the first Wednesday of each month until April 2017.

Intersite Visual Arts Festival

November 2 – 5, 2016
Multiple locations

Intersite Visual Arts Festival actively engages an unsuspecting public for surprising contemporary art events. Advocating for contemporary art practices through the decentralized presentation of visual art outside of the traditional gallery setting, a number of unique sites have been set up around Calgary including the main foyer of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, and the Memorial Park Library.

Calgary European Film Festival

November 7 – 13, 2016
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)
$12 for single tickets

See films from 16 European countries thanks to this festival. Celebrating European cinema here in Calgary, the lineup includes flicks from Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

Marda Loop Justice Film Fest

November 15 – 20, 2016
Multiple locations

This festival is more than just film—its about film with a social edge. Screenings include post-show discussions with local and international artists and experts, as well as opportunities to interact and connect with community. There’s even an NGO village allowing festival goers to connect with representatives from local non-profit groups.

Femme Wave

November 17 – 20, 2016
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Showcasing music, comedy, visual art and film of marginalized groups in Calgary and its surrounding areas, this festival celebrates underrepresented voices in the arts, specifically those of anyone who identifies as a woman.

CUFF.Docs returns this fall with another great line of non-fiction films | Photo: Mike Tan

CUFF.Docs returns this fall with another great lineup of non-fiction films | Photo: Mike Tan


November 17 – 20, 2016
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)
Ticket prices vary

Now its fourth year, this showcase of best in non-fiction films brings 10 to 12 full-length features, as well as shorts, to the Calgary screen.

Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival

November 24 – 27, 2016
Multiple location
Ticket prices vary

Full of quirky and stunning animation alike, this festival is always a great time. Quickdraw Animation Society has received over 200 films from more than 75 countries and are currently sorting through them, so stay tuned for a lineup announcement this October.