A photo of the audience dancing at a Sled Island show
The audience gets into the groove at Sled Island | Photo: Allison Seto

Spring Festival Guide

Calgary heats up with a new season of fantastic festivals

Amy Jo Espetveidt

Summer might be Calgary’s festival favourite, but spring brings several great treats worth checking out. From events showcasing emerging artists and diverse cultures to film and street festivals, there’s something for everyone.

Grab your calendar and start planning, it’s going to be a busy few months!


Until April 10, 2019
University of Calgary (2500 University Dr. NW)
Free – $13

A celebration of dance, drama, music, and interdisciplinary performance, the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts’ festival of student work unites disciplines for a collaborative program.

Tibetan Spring Bazaar

April 6, 2019, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Westgate Community Hall (4943 8th Ave. SW)

Featuring Tibetan handicrafts including shawls and scarves, jewelry, carpets, singing bowls, and more, join the Tibetan Association of Alberta for its spring gathering.

Timely Tasty Talks

April 6 – 13, 2019
Various Venues
$15 – $55

Did you know that Wordfest has an awesome April festival? Get out of the house and expand your mind with Timely Tasty Talks. This week-long lineup features authors Jason Logan, Kyo Maclear, Yasuko Thanh, and many more.

Bangla New Year Festival

April 13 & 14, 2019
Max Bell Centre (1001 Barlow Tr. SE)
$16 – $50

Join the Bangladesh Canada Association of Calgary for a two-day program that includes an exhibition, cultural show, and concerts by renowned artists from Bangladesh.

Calgary Performing Arts Festival

April 15 – May 4, 2019
Mount Royal University (4825 Mount Royal Gate SW)
Ticket prices vary

An integral part of the Calgary arts community, this annual festival encourages classical and contemporary music and speech arts performance among amateur students of all ages and skill levels. With over 12,000 performers, be sure to check out the Stars of the Festival concert.

Reactor Improv Festival

April 17 – 20, 2019
Various Venues
$10 – $30

An improv extravaganza featuring performances from The Kinkonauts along with special guest troupes, this festival aims to showcase diverse talent, fresh acts, and the best in unscripted theatre. Don’t miss these four days of explosive comedy and artistically-charged performances.

420 Music & Arts Festival

April 18 – 20, 2019
Country Line Saloon (1825 50th St. SE)
$50 – $89

Did you know that Calgary has its own 420 festival dedicated to stoner rock and the culture that has developed around the genre? Headlining the third annual festival are Crobot, Valley of the Sun, Disenchanter, Mark Deutrom‘s Bellringer, The Grudge, and Great Electric Quest.

Vaisakhi Mela

April 20 & 21, 2019, 2:00 – 6:00pm
Genesis Centre (7555 Falconridge Blvd. NE)
Free admission

Encouraging multicultural associations to represent their country and share songs, dances, performances, and activities, don’t miss this mega event celebrating Indian New Year, harvest festival, and religious festival, all rolled into one.

Calgary Underground Film Festival

April 22 – 28, 2019
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)
$6 – $120

Celebrating the best in international independent cinema, the Calgary Underground Film Festival returns with seven days of unique films including lively Q&As, shorts packages, the CUFFcade, and CUFFtots. Don’t miss Western Canada’s biggest genre festival with its amazing lineup of boundary pushing screenings.

Two people stand behind the rush line sign at the Calgary Underground Film Festival

Festival goers try their luck in the rush line at the Calgary Underground Film Festival | Photo: Caitlind r.c. Brown

International Jazz Day(s)

April 24 – 30, 2019
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

Did you know that Calgary is one of the only cities in the world to take the inspiration from International Jazz Day and expand it into a full festival? Join JazzYYC to take in free and ticketed events including a children’s show, jazz jams, lunch and learns, and an all-day JazzWalk in Inglewood.

Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo

April 25 – 28, 2019
Stampede Park (1410 Olympic Way SE)
$15 – $495

The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo returns for 2019 with four days of celebrity guests, creators, cosplay stars, exhibitors, and so much more. What started as a small gathering in 2006 has grown to become one of the biggest events of its kind in North America with over 95,000 fans attending last year.

Under the Influence Festival

April 25 – May 4, 2019
Various venues
$25 – $85

Tchaikovsky, Frank Zappa, Tanya Tagaq, John Corigliano—join the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for its most boundary-pushing festival yet. This raucous and unforgettable musical journey shines a light on the iconoclasts—genre-defying musicians and composers—whose creativity has led to profound artistic upheaval.

Calgary High School Drama Festival

May 1 – 3, 2019
University of Calgary (2500 University Dr. NW)

A festival for students to share their work and learn directly from industry professionals, swing by the University of Calgary to see studio performances and mainstage shows. Tickets are available for $15 at the University Box Office 30 minutes before showtime.

Jane’s Walk Calgary

May 3 – 5, 2019
Multiple locations
Free admission

Be part of this global festival of free neighbourhood walking tours. No registration is required, simply find a walk (or 10) that interests you and show up. With citizen-led tours inspired by urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs, the weekend offers participants a chance to explore and connect. Local art takes centre stage in a number of events including a chance to check out murals in the Beltline and the return of 10-Minute Plays.


May 17 – 19, 2019
TELUS Convention Centre (120 9th Ave. SE)
$10 – $175

A three-day celebration of Japanese art, culture, and media in the Canadian community, this festival features a 7,000-sq.-ft. marketplace and art exhibition, media guests, gaming, cosplay showcases, musical concerts, performances, educational panels, and, of course, anime screenings.

Common Ground IV

May 17 – 23, 2019
Pumphouse Theatres (2140 Pumphouse Ave. SW)
$20 – $40

See the most exciting new works from the freshest emerging artists the city has to offer. Every night has three different shows and no two nights are the same, eight brand-new acts are here to excite, entertain, and delight you.

YYComedy Festival

May 20 – 25, 2019
Various venues
Tickets prices vary

With new dates, a new mainstage venue, and a hilarious lineup, the re-imagined YYComedy Festival returns for 2019. You can even hit up comedy industry panels discussing the business of comedy, writing, and strengthening the profession for Canadian comedians.


May 24 & 25, 2019
707 Fifth (707 5th St. SW)
$40 – $310

This annual gathering has turned into an immersive cultural experience, bringing together the best of Canada’s emerging fashion designers, rising artists, musical performers, and culinary talents. PARKSHOW redefines the fashion and art landscape in Western Canada, giving you a unique new way to support Canadian culture.


May 24 – 26, 2019
Various venues
Free – $75

Meet Calgary’s new children’s festival, an interactive, multidisciplinary festival for families that provides opportunities for the audience to engage with fine arts, explore the process of creation, and experience special moments that will be cherished for years to come. The inaugural festival celebrates the great children’s entertainment that this city has to offer with artists such as Dan the One Man Band, the Kiddonauts, Zoostreet, and more.

Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival

May 24 – June 2, 2019
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

A festival for the fabulous! Celebrating 21 years of queer film in Calgary, Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival is back with an awesome lineup of panels, parties, Q&As, galas, and screenings. Official festival programming launches on May 3 so mark your calendars and stay tuned for details.

East Town Get Down

May 25, 2019
International Avenue (17th Ave. SE & area)

Back for its second year, this awesome music festival takes place on International Avenue in SE Calgary. Conceived with the intention of exposing Calgary music lovers to all that East Calgary has to offer, the lineup includes headliners Four Fists as well as local favourites and boundary pushing performers.

Cannonball! A Festival of Youth Theatre

May 30 – June 2, 2019
West Village Theatre (2007 10th Ave. SW)
Ticket prices vary

Calgary Young People’s Theatre brings back its festival of all-youth theatre for its fourth year! Welcoming plays written, directed, designed, and performed by kids, it’s a great chance to support young artists as they find their voice.

FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival

May 30 – June 9, 2019
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

Get ready to laugh as this Calgary comedy tradition returns for its 19th annual festival. The details are still forthcoming, but you can be sure to get your stand-up fill with 70 performers over 11 days and nights.

The Way Out West Fest

May 31 – June 2, 2019
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

A modern festival celebrating the west, this lineup offers looks at the historic and contemporary lure of western heritage through paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, food, drink, and music.

Suncor Energy Stage One Festival

May 31 & June 7, 2019
Lunchbox Theatre (160, 115 9th Ave. SE)
Free admission

See a series of staged readings and new works at this annual offering from Lunchbox Theatre. Stay tuned—details are still to be announced, but each year offers lunch hour offerings and evening presentations.

Rhubarb Fest YYC

June 1, 2019, 11:00am – 5:00pm
Southwood Community Hall (11 Sackville Dr. SW)
Free admission

This family-friendly festival located in Southwood reaches out to all surrounding communities to join in on the fun! There is something for everyone at this fun little gathering including live music, a petting zoo, and much more.

Panel One Comic Creator Festival

June 1, 2019, 11:00am – 7:00pm
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (1320 5th Ave. NW)

With three years of success, this festival is a unique event that fosters pride and awareness around Canadian comic creators and their work. Don’t miss this one-day offering featuring comic creators, workshops, and panels.

Calgary Ukrainian Festival

June 1 & 2, 2019
Acadia Recreation Complex (240 90th Ave. SE)
Ticket prices vary

A delight for the senses, celebrate with Calgary’s Ukrainian community and enjoy this festival full of food, dancing, live music, as well as arts and crafts.

Clothesline Festival & Art Sale

June 1 & 2, 2019, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Leighton Art Centre (282027 144th St. West, Millarville)
Free admission

Go for a drive and visit the 44th annual summer Clothesline Festival & Art Sale at the Leighton Art Centre. Discover more than 1,500 original works of art and fine craft while basking in one of the best views of the Alberta Foothills. Also on tap are artist demonstrations, family-friendly activities, and live music.

Art is displayed in tents at the Leighton Art Centre's Clothesline Festival & Art Sale

The Clothesline Festival & Art Sale presents over 1,500 pieces of Alberta-made art and fine crafts | Photo: Courtesy of the Leighton Art Centre

Empathy Week

June 1 – 7, 2019
Multiple locations
Most events are free

Returning for its third year, Humainologie’s seven-day festival promotes empathy, connection, and the recognition of our shared humanity. Stay tuned as details are announced.

4th Street Lilac Festival

June 2, 2019, 10:00am – 6:00pm
4th St. SW (Between 13th Ave & Elbow Dr.)
Free admission

Each spring, thousands of attendees enjoy this array of musical talent, artisan vendors, live entertainment, and much more. With over 500 vendors, there’s something that will interest everyone at this Calgary springtime staple.

THIRD ACTion Film Festival

June 7 – 9, 2019
Glenbow Theatre (130 9th Ave. SE)
Ticket prices vary

Celebrating ageing and older adults through film and talks, this festival offers a variety of feature length, shorts, animation, and documentary films that feature older adults in leading roles or address issues related to older adults.

Riddim West

June 8, 2019, 3:00 – 11:00pm
MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary (402 Collegiate Blvd. NW)
$30 – $50

It’s not every day you get to reggae, so join Calgary ReggaeFest at Riddim West. Featuring world-class musical performers, this is a family-friendly event that features great music, great drinks, and great friends.

IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists

June 12 – 15, 2019
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

Dedicated to supporting, mentoring, and presenting emerging artists of all disciplines, don’t miss this eclectic and exciting festival with theatre, animation, dance, improv, interdisciplinary, and site-specific offerings.

JazzYYC Summer Festival

June 12 – 16, 2019
Multiple locations
Free – $125

With mainstage venues, late night concerts, jams, free public workshops, and the signature JazzWalk, this summer festival returns thanks to Calgary’s jazz society, JazzYYC. Festival passes are now available and give you entrance to all the festival’s ticketed shows.

Sled Island

June 19 – 23, 2019
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

With over 250 bands as well as comedy, film, and visual art offerings, Sled Island is a must see for any festival fan. Headliners include the shimmering space-pop of Japanese Breakfast, the politically-charged, experimental noise-rap of JPEGMAFIA, the anthemic grunge rock of Bully, and the psychedelic surf rock sounds of Man or Astro-Man? With guest curator Julien Baker leading the way, it’s going to be one for the record books.

Calgary Horror Con

June 21 – 23, 2019
Clarion Hotel (2120 16th Ave. NE)
$25 – $75

A gathering for the community of fans that love all forms of the horror genre—cinema, literature, performance, and art—this year includes a number of guests from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, just in time for its 45th anniversary.

Shakespeare by the Bow

June 27 – August 18, 2019
Prince’s Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW)

Theatre Calgary works with emerging actors and theatre talent for this annual outdoor show. In 2019, see A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Shakespeare’s exploration of love, identity, and confusion. Starring a company of Alberta’s up-and-coming actors, every performance is pay-what-you-will (no ticket required).

Have an upcoming festival that’s not listed? Email us at events@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or fill out this form.