Stampede Showband performing on the steps of the Saddledome
Stampede Showband performing | Photo Credit: Chris Bolin, Calgary Stampede

Summer Festival Guide 2018

From favourites to traditions, 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 the end of September, there’s something new to check out every weekend—it’s a festival paradise.

Shakespeare by the Bow

Until August 19, 2018
Prince’s Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW)
Pay-What-You-Can

Theatre Calgary works with emerging actors and theatre talent for this annual outdoor show. In 2018, see Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona—a tale of friendship between best pals Proteus and Valentine who fall in and out of bromance. Every performance is pay-what-you-can and follow @ShakesBow for weather delays or cancellations.
theatrecalgary.com

Canada Day

July 1, 2018
Multiple venues
Free

Don’t miss Canada’s 151st birthday celebrations taking place across downtown. The City of Calgary has partnered with tons of local organizations to plan a day full of fun, family-friendly, and free events including music, dance, art, and culture offerings. The Indigenous Showcase returns to Prince’s Island Park, there’s a street fair in the East Village, and you can check out the One City, One Voice community sing-a-long at the Riverfront Stage.
calgary.ca

Calgary Organ Festival

July 2 to 5, 2018
Multiple venues
Free – $40

A series of exciting and inspiring events in celebration of the pipe organ and the people who love them, join the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO), Calgary Centre for the 2018 Calgary Organ Festival. The RCCO holds this annual festival each summer in a different centre and 2018 includes offers day recitals and evening concerts by internationally known organists as well as masterclasses, workshops, lectures, a coffee house, and an exhibit hall.
calgaryorganfestival.ca

Electrodeo

July 5 – 15, 2018
The Still (270 14th Ave. SE)
$10 – $150

An electronic music festival taking place all 11 days during the Calgary Stampede, the lineup includes KYTAMI, Wes Please, K-LAB, Fort Knox Five, and many more. The patio also features a full view of the fireworks.
electrodeo.com

Mexifest

July 6 & 7, 2018
Eau Claire Festival Plaza (139 Barclay Parade SW)
$10 – $20

A family-oriented, multicultural arts, and entertainment festival celebrating Mexican culture, these two days feature authentic food, liquor vendors, artisan market, live music, and a wrestling ring with luchadores from Mexico.
mexifest.ca

Calgary Exhibition and Stampede

July 6 – 15, 2018
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. To kick it all off, Coca-Cola IgNITES the Night returns for 2018 on July 5. It’s a chance for you to get a sneak peek at the grounds while dancing, riding, and partying the night away.
calgarystampede.com

A DJ performs at the Calgary Stampede's IgNITE debut

IgNITE DJ | Photo: Andy Nichols, Calgary Stampede

Bell Live Series at the King Eddy

July 6 – 15, 2018
King Eddy, National Music Centre (438 9th Ave. SE)
Free – $50

The historic King Eddy kicks into high-gear as a pop-up country bar with the return of the Bell Live Series. For 10 days during the Calgary Stampede, this East Village venue is transformed into a honky-tonk featuring a revolving roster of boot-stomping country acts performing ticketed evening concerts and free daytime shows.
studiobell.ca

Cyclepalooza

July 13 – 22, 2018
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!
cyclepalooza.ca

The Big Slam

July 14, 2018, 10:00am – 12:00am
Brewery Flats, Inglewood (Around 11th St. & 12th St. SE)
Free – $48

The annual Big Slam event is back for its second year with live music, craft beer, and free daytime activities. There’s even a free skate clinic, a Market Collective pop-up, and food trucks to check out.
slamthefestival.com

Calgary Turkish Festival

July 19 – 22, 2018
Eau Claire Festival Plaza (139 Barclay Parade SW)
Free admission

Get a taste of Turkish culture with art, folk dance, music, and gourmet food. Visitors are invited to celebrate, learn, and savour the hospitality, culture, heritage, and cuisine.
calgaryturkishfestival.com

Fiestaval Latin Festival

July 20 – 22, 2018
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Free admission

A free multicultural celebration of Latin American culture, Fiestaval features live music, dance lessons, authentic Latin food and Latin handicrafts, beer gardens, a kid’s area, and much more!
fiestaval.ca

India Film Festival of Alberta

July 20 – 22, 2018
Globe Cinema Calgary (617 8th Ave. SW)
$12.50 – $35

The IFFA showcases the rich diversity of Indian cinema for Albertans across the province. With several award-winning and independent movies, catch this touring festival during its Calgary stop.
indiafilmfestival.ca

Calgary Folk Music Festival

July 26 – 29, 2018
Prince’s Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW)
$35 – $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 performances from A Tribe Called Red, Neko Case, Lee Anne Womack, Joe Jackson, and many more.
calgaryfolkfest.com

Basia Bulat on the Calgary Folk Fest Mainstage

Basia Bulat performs at last year’s Calgary Folk Fest | Photo: James Stangroom

Terminus

July 27 – 29, 2018
Dickens Pub (1000 9th Ave. SW)
$70 – $180

Founded in 2012, Terminus is Western Canada’s only multi-day industrial/ebm/dark electro festival featuring international artists. The 2018 lineup includes Leather Strip, mesh, TR/ST, and many more.
terminus-festival.com

Historic Calgary Week

July 27 – August 6, 2018
Multiple locations
Free – $20, donations welcome

Chinook Country Historical Society highlights our cultural, institutional, industrial, architectural, sporting, and military heritage with over 70 events. Most are free and there are talks, walks, concerts, museum visits, and more to check out.
chinookcounrty.org

Pet-a-Palooza

July 28 & 29, 2018
Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW)
Free, pet-friendly

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.
petapaloozawest.com

Calgary Arab Festival

July 28 & 29, 2018
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Free admission

A free, family-friendly event, this festival shares Arabian traditions, folk dance, music, food, customs, arts, and much more. It celebrates its fifth year in 2018, so swing on by for this milestone event.
facebook.com

Calgary International Blues Festival

July 30 – August 5, 2018
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 2018 lineup includes BB King’s Blues Band, Chicago Blues Reunion, Dawn Tyler Watson, Jim Byrnes, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Popa Chubby, Sue Foley, and many more.
calgarybluesfest.com

Calgary International Fringe Festival

August 3 – 11, 2018
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. Stay tuned—the schedule will be released in the coming days.
calgaryfringe.ca

Inglewood Sunfest

August 4, 2018, 11:00am – 6:00pm
Mainstreet Inglewood (9th Ave. SE)
Free admission

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 with activities for all ages.
inglewoodsunfest.ca

Chasing Summer Festival

August 4 & 5, 2018
Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds (1001 Barlow Tr. SE)
$99.95 – $289.95

Western Canada’s largest outdoor electronic music festival brings two days of electronic music to Calgary with a lineup that includes Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, Kaskade, Dillon Francis, RL Grime, Borgore, Cash Cash, and more.
chasingsummerfestival.com

Tour de Bowness Street Festival

August 6, 2018, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Mainstreet Bowness (Along Bowness Rd. NW)
Free admission

A festival of competitive bike racing, artisans, food trucks, music, children’s activities, and more, the event celebrates the vibrant and historical community.
mainstreetbowness.com

Heritage Day Festival

August 6, 2018, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Free

Hosted by the Calgary Folk Arts Council, the 41st annual Heritage Day Festival features six hours of multicultural performances, ethnic foods, and unique handicrafts.
facebook.com

Taste of Calgary

August 9 – 12, 2018
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.
tasteofcalgary.com

When Words Collide

August 10 – 12, 2018
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.
whenwordscollide.org

Calgary Japanese Festival Omatsuri

August 11, 2018, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Max Bell Centre (1001 Barlow Tr. SE)
Free – $7

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

Buckyfest

August 11, 2018, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Buckmaster Park (1629 21st Ave. SW)
Free

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 Shona Raye and the Voodoo Hand and Boom! Boom!
facebook.com

Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival

August 11 & 12, 2018
North Glenmore Park (7305 Crowchild Tr. SW)
Free

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, 4,000 spectators, and an abundance of excitement and cultural experiences.
calgarydragonboatsociety.com

Marda Gras

August 12, 2018, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Marda Loop (33rd & 34th Ave. SW)
Free admission

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.
mardagras.ca

A Long Time Coming

August 12, 2018, 10:30 – 7:00pm
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Free admission

A new summer festival from Generation Indigenous, it aims to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. With collaborations of vendors and organizations, based on intersectionality and diversity, enjoy Indigenous culture through food, music, dance, spoken word, and traditional activities.
facebook.com

GlobalFest

August 16 – 25, 2018
Elliston Park (1827 68 St. SE)
$12.50 – $175

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!
globalfest.ca

A fisheye photograph of Midnight Taiko performing at GlobalFest

Midnight Taiko performs at GlobalFest | Photo: Jason Lawrence

Expo Latino

August 17 – 19, 2018
Prince’s Island Park (698 Eau Claire Ave. SW)
$10 – $40

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.
expolatino.com

Country Thunder

August 17 – 19, 2018
Prairie Winds Park (223 Castleridge Blvd. NE)
Ticket prices vary

Returning for 2018, this country music festival features Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Dean Brody, Eric Church, and many more. Stay tuned as more details become available.
countrythunder.com

Franco Festival Calgary

August 18, 2018, 11:00am – 9:00pm
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Free admission

An initiative of Portail de l’Immigrant Association, a non-profit organization based in Calgary, join in and celebrate Francophone cultures through dance, music, food, arts, and crafts that demonstrate the magnitude and diversity of Canadian heritage.
francofestcalgary.com

Calgary Pride Festival

August 24 – September 3, 2018
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

An entire week of events celebrating Calgary’s LGBTQA2S+ community peaks with a huge parade and street festival. Join in for concerts, plays, parties, history walks, panel discussions, and more.
calgarypride.ca

Carifest

August 25, 2018
Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW)
Free admission

Celebrate Caribbean arts and culture with local, international, and Caribbean entertainment, food, and much more. The parade kicks it all off at Olympic Plaza and travels along Stephen Ave.
facebook.com

BUMP Festival

August 30 – September 1, 2018
Throughout the Beltline
Free

With several new murals popping up, join the Beltline Urban Murals Project as it caps another successful year with a three-day festival. The lineup includes artist talks, walking tours, and an alley party.
yycbump.ca

Honens

August 30 – September 8, 2018
Multiple locations
$10 – $475

It might be Canada’s International Festival of Piano, but if you simply love music, you really should check out Honens. This year is a competition year so look for recitals, concerts, a film series, and more as pianists from around the world compete for the $100,000 prize.
honens.com

A graphic with photos of the semi-finalists

Meet the semi-finalists | Image: Courtesy of Honens

Fiesta Filipino

August 31 – September 2, 2018
Olympic Plaza (228 8th Ave. SE)
Free admission

Celebrate Alberta’s vibrant Filipino community with food, arts, entertainment, and crafts. Guest performers include Xian Lim, Bela Padilla, Annie Lux, and more
fiestafilipinoyyc.com

Calgary Highland Games

September 1, 2018
Calgary Rugby Union (9025 Shepard Rd. SE)
$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.
calgaryhighlandgames.org

BBQ on the Bow

September 1 & 2, 2018
Montgomery Community Association (5003 16th Ave. NW)
Free admission

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.
bbqonthebow.com

M:ST 9 Performance Art Biennial

September 7 – October 7, 2018
Multiple venues
Free admission

The M:ST 9 Biennial brings Canadian and international performance artists to Calgary for a month-long festival. It celebrates experimental and risk-taking artworks that disrupt conventions and connects theatres, galleries, and public spaces all over the downtown core. Explore opportunities to entangle with media in new and surprising ways through exhibitions, interactive installations, performances, and interventions, all events are free and all are welcome.
mstfestival.org

Circle

September 8, 2018
Location to be announced
$35 – $45

With a new name, Calgary’s own traveling carnival of local food, beer, music, art, and performers features plenty of new surprises. Bring the kids, Fido, and your loved ones for a dynamic and entertaining day presented by BassBus, YYCFoodTrucks, and Village Brewery.
circlecarnival.com

CAMP Festival

September 9 – 11, 2018
Theatre Junction GRAND (608 1st St. SW)
$99 – $249

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.
campfestival.ca

NUTV Student Film Festival

September 13, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)
Free, registration recommended

Celebrate the talents and accomplishments of these young filmmakers and join NUTV for its second annual student film festival. Featuring five short films created during its summer film school alongside other top student films from across the province, Following the screening, check out the after party at State & Main (601 8th Ave. SW).
facebook.com

37th Annual Alberta Dance Festival

September 13 – 15 & 20 – 22, 2018
Victor Mitchell Theatre, Pumphouse Theatres (2140 Pumphouse Ave. SW)
$24 – $60

Presented by Dancers’ Studio West, don’t miss The Wild featuring new works by nine contemporary dance choreographers. The festival features two distinct programs of performance over two weekends.
dswlive.ca

Calgary ArtWalk

September 15 & 16, 2018
Throughout Calgary
Free

Marking the 35th anniversary of ArtWalk, this free annual festival is designed for all Calgarians to experience the wide-range of visual art. Walk, ride, or hop to dozens of venues across the city to take in artist talks, tours, exhibitions, workshops, and more.
calgaryartwalk.com

Beakerhead

September 19 – 23, 2018
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

This smash up of art, science, and engineering has more than 60 events that you can explore. Look for engineered art, international ingenuity competitions, public performances, community challenges, and creations of your own making.
beakerhead.com

Calgary International Film Festival

September 19 – 30, 2018
Multiple locations
$15 – $350

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.
calgaryfilm.com

Equinox Vigil

September 22, 2018, 6:30 – 9:30pm
Union Cemetery (enter from Spiller Road)
Free

A graveyard might be the last place you’d expect to find live music, performances, and contemporary art installations, but that’s what the Equinox Vigil is. Back for its seventh year, this unique evening creates an atmosphere of community camaraderie while honouring those who have died.
equinoxvigil.ca

Doors Open Calgary

September 22 & 23, 2018
Throughout Calgary
Free admission

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.
doorsopenyyc.org

Gotta Minute Film Festival

September 24 – 30, 2018
Multiple locations
Free

The Edmonton-based Gotta Minute Film Festival celebrates it fifth year with an expansion to Calgary and has films screening along the CTrain Transit System and at the Calgary International Airport. Using digital screens as its canvas, the program is filled with one-minute silent short films for one and all.
gottaminutefilmfestival.com

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

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