People laughing outside of the Big Secret Theatre at Arts Commons
Kickstart your year with the High Performance Rodeo | Photo: Elyse Bouvier

Winter Festivals

The cold won’t slow us down with these awesome festivals

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Location Various Venues 
  • Price Prices Vary

It might be winter but that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to the snow and the cold. Many of Calgary’s festivals move indoors this season with amazing offerings from the High Performance Rodeo, Block Heater, and so much more. Get out there and warm up with these smoking hot festivals!

IMPORTANT: With the spread of COVID-19, Calgary’s arts community is moving ahead with a number of event postponements and cancellations. While we are working diligently to keep our events calendar updated, please check with the event organizers for the most recent information. Thank you for your continued patience.

High Performance Rodeo

January 8 – 26, 2020
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

One Yellow Rabbit’s 34th Annual High Performance Rodeo offers the chance to watch touring performances from across Canada, acclaimed international shows, and new and experimental work from artists here in Calgary! The programming is always bold, cutting-edge, funny, frank, and full of heart.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

January 15 – 26, 2020
Various venues
$25 – $29

Catch some of the best new mountain films as the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to Calgary. With two programs of short films sharing inspirational tales and high adrenaline, it’s well worth checking out.

Miskanawah Friendship Round Dance

January 18, 2020, 5:00pm
Genesis Centre (10, 7555 Falconridge Blvd. NE)
By donation

Steeped in tradition, this event brings people from all backgrounds together to celebrate First Nations culture and features original works of art, jewelry, and textiles by local Indigenous artists. Join hands to celebrate friendship, family, and inclusivity.

Chinese Lunar New Year Festival

January 18 – 26, 2020
Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1st St. SW)
Free admission

Featuring an art exhibition, marketplace, food stalls, costume photo booth, multicultural performances, a firecracker display, dragon and lion dances, and much more, everyone is welcome to swing by and check out the celebrations.

BIG Winter Classic

January 23 – 26, 2020
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

Born out of an idea to celebrate Calgary year-round, not just in the warm summer months, this festival brings together a killer musical lineup. In 2020, look for performances from Ezra Furman, Bully, I Am The Mountain, Wares, Weaves, and many more. Don’t miss this four-day winter wonderland weekend.

PARTICLE + WAVE Media Arts Festival

January 30 – February 1, 2020
Various venues
Free – $20

A unique three-day celebration highlighting the critical innovation and creativity present in the media arts community, this festival showcases an art form that, by its very nature, is constantly evolving and growing. Look for screenings, installations, and live performances.

Exposure Photography Festival

January 31 – February 29, 2020
Various venues
Ticket prices vary

Celebrate the art of photography this February with Exposure. Alberta’s one and only photography festival, it hosts over 25,000 attendees annually with most events being free and open to the public.

Black History Month Film Festival

February 6, 11 & 26, 2020, 7:00pm
Jenkins Theatre, Mount Royal University (4825 Mount Royal Gate SW)
Free admission

This festival features work by Black filmmakers from Calgary, Canada, and across the globe. Don’t miss three nights of free screenings closing with one of the last performances by recently passed filmmaker and community beacon, Gerrick Winston. There are even moderated discussions between audience and filmmakers each night.


February 13 – 17, 2020
Various venues
Prices vary

With five days of fun, don’t miss Winterpalooza, a winter bike festival organized by Cyclepalooza. Events are hosted by passionate individuals, groups, and businesses with the Winterpalooza calendar serving as the place to get and communicate information. Rides may be free or have small costs so be sure to check out the schedule.

GLOW Winter Festival

February 14 – 16, 2020
Stephen Avenue (Along 8th Ave. SW)
Free admission

This free, family-friendly event boasts programming that appeals to all ages and backgrounds while bringing citizens, tourists, and businesses together at Calgary’s own winter festival. GLOW engages visitors to celebrate the vibrancy of Calgary in the winter. You can even vote for your favourite ice carver, take a ride down the ice slide, and end the night with a drink at the Ice Lounge alongside live music.

Just Acts Play Festival

February 18 – 22, 2020
Knox United Church (506 4th St. SW)
$10 – $20

A one-act play festival of new works written and directed by local artists, join Urban Stories Theatre as it explores family with three shows—Flowers by Ruxandra Chirila, A Part of Myself by Steven Morton, and Boxes by Caitlin Russell.

Block Heater

February 20 – 22, 2020
Multiple locations
$20 – $100

Over 30 artists—from the homegrown to the far-flung—perform in concerts and collaborative sessions at five uniquely Calgary venues. Cure your winter cabin fever and wander from stage to stage featuring everything from the truest folk to the newest hip hop.

The stage is set for Block Heater at Studio Bell

Calgary Folk Festival’s winter reprieve returns with an amazing lineup of live concerts | Photo: Caydence Photography

Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest

February 24 – 29, 2020
Multiple locations
Ticket prices vary

Shake off the winter blahs with the best in blues and check out the Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest as it returns with concerts, workshops, and so much more. Don’t miss this top-notch lineup featuring Romi Mayes and a Midwinter Dance Party. More details are expected to be released shortly.

Ethnik Festival of Arts and Culture

February 28 & 29, 2020
Central Library (800 3rd St. SE)
Free admission, registration required

Celebrate Black History Month with a showcase of Afro Canadian and Caribbean heritage. This cultural showcase features guest artists and speakers Jully Black, Olunike Adeliyi, Rondel Roberts, Rey Francis, Wakefield Brewster, Mel Vee, Sabrina Naz, and many more.

Bright Side Festival

March 3 – 8, 2020
Theatre 1308 (1308 Edmonton Tr. NE)
Prices vary

The second annual Bright Side Festival explores the theme of progress with six days of music, art, film, and philosophy! Featuring discussions, music, film, and much more to delight your senses, be sure to check out the schedule and start planning.

Holi Hungama

March 7, 2020, 7:00pm
Magnolia Banquet Hall (900, 5075 Falconridge Blvd. NE)
$50 – $75

This year celebrates a new decade of life and love so celebrate with colour! The event features entertainment performances, DJ, dancing, dinner, and, of course, a colour throw. Dress code is strictly white casual—be sure to wear something that you are not attached to.

Brazilian Carnaval

March 7, 2020, 7:00 – 10:00pm
Acadia Recreation Complex (240 90th Ave. SE)
$12 – $20

Take in the 16th annual Brazilian Carnaval featuring a multitude of live entertainment. Local musicians include Júlio Siqueira, Arthur Volpato, and Daniel Hays, with dance performances by Samba Brasil Heritage Dance Group, Bloco Vivo, and Capoeira Aché Brasil Capoeira.

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