The Blazin' Lily Gals at Beakernight
The Blazin' Lily Gals at Beakernight | Photo: Raymond Wong

Summer Festival Guide 2017

From Folk Fest to Beakerhead, Calgary’s festival scene is smoking hot

Amy Jo Espetveidt

Each summer, Calgary’s festival scene explodes with hundreds of local and international artists, lively outdoor events and tons of family-friendly fun. With over 40 festivals taking place between now and September, there’s something new to check out every weekend.


Canada Day

July 1, 2017
Multiple venues

Canada Day in Calgary promises to be bigger and better than ever this year as we celebrate Canada 150. The City of Calgary has teamed up with Canadian Heritage and 14 partner organizations to program a vibrant, entertaining, educational, and interactive Canada Day including a Strum N Sing Along with Ian Tyson and a live performance by Tegan and Sara.

 Indigenous Showcase and Powwow

This Canada Day check out the Indigenous Showcase and Powwow on Prince’s Island Park | Photo: Courtesy of the City of Calgary

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede

July 7 – 16, 2017
Stampede Park (1410 Olympic Way SE)
Ticket prices vary

The biggest festival of the summer, the Calgary Stampede returns with 10 days of music, western events, youth activities, agriculture programs, and so much more. And new for 2017, you can dance, ride, and party the night away with IgNITE on July 6—Beakerhead will even be on hand bringing together the arts, sciences, and engineering sectors to light up the Midway for one night only.

WILD: Fabricating a Frontier

July 7 – 15, 2017
Multiple locations

Exploring interspecies relations, the intersectionality of the frontier, and feminist and Indigenous discourses, WILD: Fabricating a Frontier is presented by Contemporary Calgary in partnership with the Calgary Underground Film Festival and M:ST Performative Art Festival. An intensive 10-day festival, WILD features nightly performances, film screenings, and discussions by local, national, and international artists, filmmakers, curators, and writers, as well as an exhibition running from July 7 to August 26 across three separate venues.

Bell Live at the King Eddy

July 7 – 16, 2017
King Edward Hotel, National Music Centre (438 9th Ave. SE)
Free – $20

Wrangle up your posse for foot-stomping roots and country tunes from a roster of all-Canadian talent. This pop-up country saloon features a revolving lineup of western-style acts to provide daytime and evening shows.

Calgary Turkish Festival

July 13 – 16, 2017
Eau Claire Festival Plaza (139 Barclay Parade SW)

Get a taste of Turkish culture with art, folk dance, music and gourmet food. Celebrating 10 years in 2017, visitors are invited to celebrate, learn, and savour Turkish hospitality, culture, heritage and cuisine.


July 14 – 23, 2017
Multiple venues
Ticket prices vary

A community-driven, do-it-yourself bicycle festival, Cyclepalooza is held every summer in Calgary. Bringing people together through cycling, the festival features commuter challenges, photo contests and ride tours that highlight art, food, local history, and more. Anyone can lead a ride during Cyclepalooza!

Fiestaval Latin Festival

July 21 – 23, 2017
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

A free multicultural celebration of Latin American culture, Fiestaval features live music, dance lessons and showcases, authentic Latin food and Latin handicrafts, beer gardens, a kids area, and much more!

India Film Festival of Alberta

July 21 – 23, 2017
Globe Cinema Calgary (617 8th Ave. SW)
$12 – $80

The IFFA showcases the rich diversity of Indian cinema to Albertans and you can check it out on its Calgary stop. With several award-winning and independent movies from India, catch this touring festival during its Calgary stop.

Calgary Folk Music Festival

July 27 – 30, 2017
Prince’s Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW)
$25 – $195

A summer favourite, Calgary Folk Fest celebrates some of the globe’s most independent, original, and innovative songwriters and instrumentalists. This year’s lineup includes City and Colour, Blue Rodeo, AM Static, Reverend Robert Jones, Tanya Tagaq, and many more.

Foy Vance performs at the Calgary Folk Music Festival

Foy Vance performs at the 2016 Calgary Folk Music Festival | Photo: James Stangroom, courtesy of Calgary Folk Music Festival


July 28 – 30, 2017
Dickens (1000 9th Ave. SW)

Founded in 2012, Terminus is Western Canada’s only multi-day industrial/ebm/dark electro festival featuring international artists. The 2017 lineup includes 3Teeth, The Birthday Massacre, PIG, and many more.

Historic Calgary Week

July 28 – August 7, 2017
Multiple locations
Free, donations welcome

Chinook Country Historical Society highlights our cultural, institutional, industrial, architectural, sporting, and military heritage with over 60 events. There are talks, walks, concerts, family events, museum visits, and more.


July 29 & 30, 2017
Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW)

Just Love Animals Society is returning to Calgary once again with the West Coast’s largest outdoor pet festival. Bring your pet to sample treats, food, accessories, toys, and more.

Calgary Arab Festival

July 29 & 30, 2017
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

A free, family-friendly event, this festival shares Arabian traditions, folk dance, music, food, customs, arts, and much more.

Calgary International Blues Festival

July 31 – August 6, 2017
Multiple locations
Free – $129

Don’t miss this full week of the best in blues! Featuring an exciting program of workshops and special events, it all culminates on the Mainstage at Shaw Millennium Park. The 2017 lineup includes Big Bill Morganfield, Bob Hall, Lil’ Jimmy Reed, Angel Forrest Band, Ghost Town Blues Band, Sugar Brown, and many more.


Calgary International Fringe Festival

August 4 – 12, 2017
Multiple venues
Ticket prices vary

The Calgary Fringe Festival is an uncensored, non-juried performance festival that presents over 30 productions and 150 performances over the course of just nine days. For 2017 see shows including 73 Seconds, Blood Countess, Dog’s Misery Swamp, Help! I’m American!, Legally Blonde The Musical, The Curiosity Cabinet, and many more.

Calgary International Fringe Festival lineup

Festivalgoers wait in line for a Fringe show | Photo: Robert Engelbrecht, courtesy of Calgary International Fringe Festival

One Love Music Festival

August 4, 2017
Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds (1001 Barlow Tr. SE)
$79.95 – $179.95

An outdoor, open air event, see musical acts including Ms. Lauryn Hill, Migos, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, and many more at Western Canada’s largest hip hop music festival.

Inglewood Sunfest

August 5, 2017, 11:00am – 6:00pm
Mainstreet Inglewood (9th Ave. SE)

Inglewood Sunfest is all about having fun in the sun! This feisty summer festival in the heart of this historic neighbourhood is here to celebrate, engage, entertain, and delight, and includes activities for all ages.

Franco Festival Calgary

August 5, 2017, 11:00am – 9:00pm
Murdoch Park (9th St. & Centre Ave. NE)

An initiative of Portail de l’Immigrant Association, a non-profit organization based in Calgary, join in and celebrate many the Francophone cultures (Africa, North-America, Europe, and Asia) through dance, music, food, arts, and crafts that demonstrate the magnitude and diversity of Canadian heritage.

Chasing Summer Festival

August 5 & 6, 2017
Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds (1001 Barlow Tr. SE)
$99.95 – $279.95

Western Canada’s largest outdoor electronic music festival brings two days of electronic music to Calgary with a lineup including The Funk Hunters, Smalltown DJs, Kill the Noise, and more.

Heritage Day Festival

August 7, 2017, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

This August long weekend, don’t miss the 40th annual Heritage Day Festival at Olympic Plaza featuring multicultural performances, ethnic foods, and unique handicrafts.

Peeled Cocktail Festival

August 12 – 14, 2017
Multiple locations
$40 – $165

Stemming from a need to support, promote, and grow the local cocktail industry, this new Calgary-based cocktail festival brings together spirits, mixologists, food and beverage purveyors, event planners, and media. Featuring seminars, tastings, networking events, and much more, don’t miss this playground for the cocktail curious.

Taste of Calgary

August 10 – 13, 2017
Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW)
Free admission

Calgary’s festival of food and drink offers sensational samples from Calgary’s most interesting restaurants and beverage companies, against a backdrop of the best talent the province has to offer.

Opera in the Village

August 10 – 13 & 17 – 20, 2017
ENMAX Park (Elbow River Pathway SE)
Free – $125

Calgary Opera’s summer treat returns to its full spectacle in a new location. Head to ENMAX Park for 2017’s full-scale festival featuring South Pacific, Cinderella, and the musical review, And So It Goes featuring Brett Polegato. There’s even free family entertainment from some of Calgary’s best music groups.

When Words Collide

August 11 – 13, 2017
Delta Calgary South Hotel (135 Southland Dr. SE)
$20 – $60

A festival for readers, writers, artists, and publishers of commercial and literary fiction right here in Calgary. Speaking panels, merchants, and parties celebrate all genres including young adult, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, film scripts, and kid’s books.

Calgary Japanese Festival Omatsuri

August 12, 2017, 11:00am – 6:00pm
Max Bell Centre (1001 Barlow Tr. SE)
Free – $5

Visitors to the Calgary Japanese Festival are treated to authentic Japanese food and snacks as well as presentations of traditional music, dance, and song.

Bucky Music Festival

August 12, 2017, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Buckmaster Park (1629 21st Ave. SW)

Head to Bankview for this free, all-ages outdoor concert series on the hill. Bring a picnic and the whole family for a day of games and great local bands including the Love Bullies and Bankview’s own, Golden Dinosaur.

Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival

August 12 & 13, 2017
North Glenmore Park (7305 Crowchild Tr. SW)

On the water, teams participate in the 2,000-year-old traditional rowing sport. On land, spectators get to cheer them on while experiencing the music, dance and food of China. The Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival draws over 1,850 competitors, over 4,000 spectators, and an abundance of excitement and cultural experiences.

Marda Gras

August 13, 2017, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Marda Loop (33rd & 34th Ave. SW)

The Marda Gras Street Festival attracts some 35,000 people to Marda Loop for a fun-filled and family-friendly event that embraces the culture and cuisine of New Orleans.

Spaghetti Western Festival

August 15 – 18, 2017
Stephen Avenue Summer Stage (Centre Street & 8th Ave. SE)

Celebrating 10 years, Calgary’s own Spaghetti Western Festival gets a new look and format this year with lunch hour concerts on the Stephen Avenue Summer Stage.


August 15 – 26, 2017
Elliston Park (1827 68 St. SE)
$7.50 – $240

GlobalFest showcases the heritage of more than 60 cultures with a variety of events and activities that celebrate Calgary’s diversity and support cross-cultural respect. And don’t forget those amazing fireworks!

Dancers at GlobalFest

Dancers at GlobalFest | Photo: Steve Coutts, courtesy of GlobalFest

Calgary International Reggae Festival

August 17 – 19, 2017
Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW)
Free – $45

ReggaeFest is Western Canada’s pre-eminent reggae music and culture festival, featuring first-class performers from Canada and around the world in a family-friendly setting. This year’s festival lineup includes Etana, Antidoping, Kirk Diamond, Steele, Lyndon John X, and more.

Expo Latino

August 18 – 20, 2017
Prince’s Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW)
$10 – $35

As Calgary’s hottest outdoor festival, Expo Latino celebrates Hispanic culture through dance, music, food and art. Chill out in the beer garden near the stage or dance the weekend away.

Country Thunder

August 18 – 20, 2017
Prairie Winds Park (223 Castleridge Blvd. NE)
Ticket prices vary

Returning for 2017, this country music festival features Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, and many more. Stay tuned as more details become available.

Calgary Pride Festival

August 25 – September 4, 2017
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.


August 26, 2017
Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW)

Celebrate Caribbean arts and culture with local, international, and Caribbean entertainment, food, art, and much more. The parade kicks it all off at 9:30am at Olympic Plaza.

Field Station

August 26 – 28 & September 15 – 19, 2017
Tuscany, Rocky Ridge, & Royal Oak
Free, registration required

This series of arts-based community events are built around the Tuscany LRT Station Community Cultural Development Public Art Project. Both educational and creative, Field Station includes individual and collective opportunities to celebrate the local community and explore the final destination point on the Red Line and its surrounding neighbourhoods. Space is limited due to the nature of the creative activities.


Fiesta Filipino

September 1 – 3, 2017
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)

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

Calgary Highland Games

September 2, 2017
Springbank Park for All Seasons (32224A Springbank Rd. SW)
$15 – $70

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.

BBQ on the Bow

September 2 & 3, 2017
Montgomery Community Association (5003 16th Ave. NW)
Free, all-ages

Get ready to get your nom on while enjoying some rocking bands, BBQ on the Bow strives to spread passion for southern style BBQ while simultaneously celebrating and promoting local products, businesses, and musicians.


September 7 – 10, 2017
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 film series, and much more during the four-day festival.

36th Annual Alberta Dance Festival

September 7 – 9 & 14 – 16, 2017
Victor Mitchell Theatre, Pumphouse Theatres (2140 Pumphouse Ave. SW)
$24 – $60

Presented by Dancers’ Studio West, don’t miss Dancing Home: a Celebration of Canadian Artists featuring new works by 11 Alberta contemporary dance choreographers.

Circle the Wagons

September 9, 2017
Currie Park (Trasimene Crescent SW)

This year, Calgary’s own traveling carnival of local food, beer, music, art, and performers heads to Currie, with all the classic Circle the Wagons features and plenty of new surprises in store. Bring the kids, Fido, and your loved ones for a dynamic and entertaining day presented by BassBus, YYCFoodTrucks, and Village Brewery.

The People’s Poetry Festival

September 9, 2017
Multiple locations
Free – $20

Poetry fans rejoice, The People’s Poetry Festival returns with poetry walks, workshops, performances and readings featuring page poetry, spoken word, music and artwork, DIY poetry stations, open mics, and poetry education.

CAMP Festival

September 10 – 12, 2017
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.


September 13 – 17, 2017
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

This smash up of art, science and engineering has more than 60 events that you can explore and many are free! And be on the look out for Snakes and Ladders, Beakerhead’s flagship feature for 2017, part of the Canada 150 celebration.

NUTV Student Film Festival

September 14, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)
Free, donations accepted at the door

Showcasing Alberta’s best student films, don’t miss the first annual NUTV Student Film Festival. Juried prizes include Best Short Film and Runner-Up Best Short Film.

Otahpiaaki 2017

September 18 – 23, 2017
Multiple locations
$10 – $125

This Indigenous beauty, fashion, and design week is a gesture and expression of reconciliation inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the 94 Calls to Action to advance the process of reconciliation and redress the legacy of residential schools. Featuring some of Canada’s most inspiring Indigenous artists and designers, check out three unique and exciting showcases including film, music, and fashion. There are even workshops throughout the week and an opening celebration featuring the Northern Cree Singers.

Calgary International Film Festival

September 20 – October 1, 2017
Multiple locations
$15 – $240

A 12-day showcase of up to 200 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and over 40 other countries, check out gala events, screenings, special presentations, and a Behind the Screen series. Now the largest film festival in Alberta, and the sixth largest in Canada, it’s well worth hitting up.

Calgary International Film Festival lineup

Film fans need to check out the Calgary International Film Festival | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Film

Doors Open Calgary

September 23, 2017
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.

VegFest Calgary

September 23, 2017, 11:00am – 6:00pm
Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW)

Calgary has a new festival and its first one based around all vegan food and lifestyle. VegFest Calgary is a grassroots volunteer-run organization with a focus on positive community engagement and sustainable living. Check out local vegan products, food samples and sales, nationally recognized speakers, local musicians, a kids activity zone, and more.

Equinox Vigil

September 23, 2017, 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 its sixth year, this unique evening creates an atmosphere of community camaraderie.

YYC Diversity Fest

September 30, 2017, 12:00 – 5:00pm
Genesis Centre (7555 Falconridge Blvd. NE)

Get to know the diversity of Calgary’s people, this event is a great opportunity to engage in understanding and learning of other cultures, faith groups, practices, and more. Enjoy over 30 interactive cultural booths, ethnic foods and beverages, entertainment, and artist showcases.