Block Heater announces virtual concert series lineup

Block Heater is back, but this time, the music is coming to your home.

The sixth annual concert, hosted by the Calgary Folk Music Festival, will now offer a virtual experience that includes 23 artists.

Kerry Clarke, the festival’s artistic director, told the The Homestretch about some of the changes and what viewers have to look forward to.

“It’ll look like an awesome festival that’s online instead of live that people can enjoy from the comfort of their homes or their backyard firepits with artists from our own backyard and around the world,” Clarke said.

Oji-Cree and Mi’kmaq singer Anachnid will be featured in the lineup. (Anachnid)

New this year is a special Irish program that will feature four different artists.

“We have a partnership with Culture Ireland, and so they’re helping support the artists. They are helping get the word out,” she said.

Some of the performances will be live so that the audience can interact with the performers virtually.

“It’s really nice to have the audience interaction for the artist and to be able to see the audience watching them,” Clarke said.

“Most of the local artists are going to be on the free stream, which is on YouTube and Facebook, and those are all going to be live either from Festival Hall or from their homes.”

Despite having to change how they operate this year, Clarke said they’re happy to continue the festival in a new way.

Montreal’s Matt Holubowski will be featured in this year’s Block Heater lineup. (William Arcand)

“We like to keep the music alive in whatever way we can. We love to keep artists employed and we want to keep artists and audiences connected,” she said.

“It’s an important festival to us now, so we don’t want to let it go fallow.”

Clarke said this year will be affordable too. Half of the festival is free on one stage, and the other is a pay-what-you-can method.

“If someone wants to pay a dollar and someone else wants to pay $70, then that’s fine with us,” she said.

You can check out the festival online from Feb. 16 to 20. Visit their website for more details, the schedule and information about the tickets.

The Block Heater lineup:

  • Valerie June
  • Damien Jurado
  • Matt Holubowski
  • Vancouver’s Parkland Music Project
  • Lisa Hannigan, who will be part of a special Irish program
  • Paul Noonan
  • Saint Sister
  • Lisa O’Neill
  • Lorrie Matheson
  • The Lovebullies
  • Robert Adam
  • Nite Twin
  • Tarik Robinson
  • Tendavillage 
  • 100 mile house
  • Lucette
  • Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire
  • Ryland Moranz
  • Cris Derksen
  • Dr. Henry Band
  • Kelly Bado
  • María Mezcal

With files from The Homestretch.

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