Free This Week
The Jabberwocky Players Present The Gruffalo I Photo: Courtesy of The Jabberwocky Players

Free This Week

Get a taste of upcoming festivals and more

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price Free

Summer might be winding down but the chances to get out and see some amazing, free events certainly aren’t. In fact, there are so many to check out, our calendar is beyond full!

Stephen Avenue Walk #IAMDOWNTOWN Summer Stage

August 17– 20, 2016, 12:00pm
Stephen Avenue Summer Stage (Centre Street & 8th Ave. SE)

Gear up for the Spaghetti Western Festival on August 20, 2016 with SpagWest Fest artists on the Stephen Avenue Summer Stage this week.

Pop-Up Picnic

August 17, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Harley Hotchkiss Park (611 4 St SW)

Join Downtown Calgary for week’s pop-up picnic and get a sneak peek at what’s coming to this year’s Beakerhead. Jump in the the Tin Fish, have a close encounter with Perry Lang’s handmade rocket and flying saucer creations, and explore the origins of photography by stepping into the Camera Obscura mobile, from ACAD’s Mitch Kern.

ProArts Presents Allen Reiser

August 17, 2016, 12:10pm
Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (604 1st St. SE)
Free, family-friendly

This Wednesday, don’t forget to check out the ProArts@Noon Concert Series presents classical pianist Allen Reiser in a concert of Chopin music.

Music In The Plaza

August 17, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Heritage Town Square, Heritage Park Historical Village (1900 Heritage Dr. SW)

Heritage Park’s free summer concert series returns for a fifth season of spectacular live music, every Wednesday evening until August 31. This week it’s a Klezmer Doubleheader with Fromage Chaud and Zeev Berger and the Schmoozers.

Calgary Urban Affairs Book Club: Geography of Nowhere

August 17, 2016, 6:30pm
Shelf Life Books (1302 4th St. SW)

Interested in urban affairs? More than 30 people from all walks of life came to the inaugural Calgary Urban Affairs Book Club in May and it’s back this August. Pick up a copy of The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler and join fellow Calgarians for an evening discussion at Shelf Life.

Rooftop Screening Series: Godzilla VS Destoroyah

August 17, 2016, 7:30pm
Calgary Marriott Downtown Rooftop (110 9th Ave. SE)

Last week’s film screening might have been postponed but you can still see Godzilla VS Destoroyah! Join Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF), Downtown Calgary and the Marriott. There will be full food and beverage service on the patio bar and live music before the show.

Calgary Art Walk 2016

Stephen Avenue
August 18, 2016, 10:00am – 5:00pm

Join Canadian Artists for the Poor for its annual Art Walk. Hosting talented local artists featuring various art mediums, the event is designed to provide artists an opportunity to network, sell and promote their artwork. A portion of the proceeds will be directed to humanitarian efforts locally and internationally.

Calgary Artwalk 2016 | Video: Canadian Artists for the Poor

Preview in the Plaza

August 18, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

This Wednesday head to Olympic Plaza for a free preview of Reggaefest with the rhythmic reggae of Aktivate.

Street Piano Sing-a-long with Kate Melvina

August 18, 2016, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Woodlands Piano (332 6th Ave. SW)
Free, family-friendly

The street pianos are back this summer with free noon hour performances and the third and final series will give attendees a chance to get involved with the performance and sing-a-long! This week sees Kate Melvina tickle the ivories and lead the pack in song.

The Jabberwocky Players Present The Gruffalo

Chapters (9631 Macleod Trail SW)
August 18, 2016, 2:30 & 3:15pm
Free, email to be put on the guest list

Got little ones? Check out a musical interactive presentation of this popular children’s classic by Julia Donaldson featuring Claire Butler, Jesse McMann, Natalia Peric and Judy Dufoo. Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration.

Blue on the Avenue Featuring The 6L6s

August 18, 2016, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Stephen Avenue Summer Stage (Centre Street & 8th Ave. SE)
Free, family-friendly

Join Downtown Calgary and Mike Watson for an exploration of local blues music on the Stephen Avenue Summer stage. This week features The 6L6s, a group that takes the influences of 1920s and 1930s Delta blues, play it through amps and recording technologies of the 1950s, and filter it through the musical sensibilities of a child of the grunge-era 90s.

Queensland Mural Unveiling

August 18, 2016, 5:00pm
Queensland Community Centre (649 Queensland Dr SE)

Head to the Queensland Community Centre to see the results of a community-wide art collaboration where Calgarians were invited to drop by, get a paintbrush wet and get to know each other better. In partnership with Studio C, Calgary Arts Development, and the City of Calgary, artist Mark Vasquez-Mackay led the creation of this large-scale mural.

Returning Fire: Interventions in Video Game Culture

August 18, 2016, 7:00 – 7:45pm
Esker Foundation  (444, 1011 9th Ave. SE)
Free, registration recommended

In three separate vignettes, see how Anne-Marie Schleiner, Wafaa Bilal, and Joseph Delappe have infiltrated war games in an attempt to break the hypnotic spell of “militainment.” Their work challenges viewers to think critically about what it means when the clinical tools of real-world killing become forms of consumer play.


August 18, 2016, 8:00 – 8:25pm
Esker Foundation (444, 1011 9th Ave. SE)
Free, registration recommended

Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center has produced an account of the whirlwind of events surrounding Wafaa Bilal’s controversial art exhibit, Virtual Jihadi. Art≠Terrorism goes beyond the sound bites to find out what happened when an Iraqi artist came to Troy, NY only to be censored—not once, but twice.

Long Lunch Quick Reads

August 19, 2016, 12:00 – 2:00pm
Loft 112 (535 8th Ave. SE)
Free, lunch can be ordered by emailing

Eat and read at the best literary luncheon in the city. This month features the non-fiction hybrid prose and photography from The Night Will be Long But Beautiful. The Life and Death of Jeff Lakes by Erin Emily Vance.

Summers on 17th: MarketSpot

August 20, 2016, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Tomkins Park (17th Ave., between 7th & 8th St. SW)
Free, family-friendly

Featuring the dynamic duo of MarketSpot, a collaboration between Market YYC and Artspot, swing by and check out live music, reading racks supplied by the Calgary Public Library, artisan vendors, performances, produce markets, kids crafting activities and more.

Spaghetti Western Festival

August 20, 2016, 12:00 – 8:00pm
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

The Spaghetti Western Festival is Canada’s alt-country music festival, celebrating new directions in Country and Western music. Unfortunately the festival was rained out last year, but the good news is that it’s back with Tim Hus, Yarrow, Copperhead and more.

The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration Screening

August 20, 2016, 6:00pm
Studio Bell’s Performance Hall (850 4th St. SE)
Free, registration required

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, will be hosting a free, public screening of CBC and The Tragically Hip Presents The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration. Space is limited for this free, all-ages event and pre-registration is required.

Kensington Summertime Outdoor Movies

August 20, 2016, 9:00pm
Calgary Parking Authority Lot 57 (1210 Kensington Rd. NW)
Free, family-friendly, BYO-chair

Back by popular demand, Kensington Summertime Outdoor Movies series returns for its second consecutive year. This year it’s all about the 80s and this week’s flick is the cult classic, Princess Bride.

Master Class for Families

August 21, 2016, 1:00 – 2:00pm
Esker Foundation  (444, 1011 9th Ave. SE)
Free, registration essential

Join the Esker Foundation for an afternoon of family fun at the gallery! Dive into new mediums with art projects that tie into current exhibitions. Geared for kids five to 10 years of age, an adult is required to stay for the duration of the workshop. All materials will be provided.