Calgary Folk Festival brings crowds back with safety top of mind

CALGARY — The 42nd Calgary Folk Music Festival is in full swing at Prince’s Island Park with some changes, which were primarily put in place to prevent COVID-19 infections.

Instead of a multi-stage festival, this year’s event includes an outdoor concert series at the main stage. It’s called Summer Serenades, and capacity is capped at 15 per cent.

Due to physical distancing protocols, admission also looks different. Instead of individual ticket sales, each ticket gives access to a plot in front of the main stage that allows up to four adults and two children.

Masks are required to be worn at the festival, but can be removed while attendees and their cohort are seated at their plot.

Calgary Folk Music Festival’s artistic director Kerry Clarke said uncertainty leading up to the event was the greatest challenge to overcome.

“I think the fact that it’s happening is a huge success.”

This year’s lineup includes 36 artists, nine of which are from Alberta, performing Thursday, July 22nd to Wednesday, July 28th.

For some, it’s their first time in front of a live audience in more than a year.

Tarik Robinson of Dragon Fli Empire said, “Throughout 2020, we did a lot of virtual events so we’re glad to be here in person and interact with the audience face-to-face.”

Performers aren’t the only ones excited to be back on stage.

Erica Robinson said she and her friends are long time attendees of the Calgary Folk Festival.

“We missed it so much — it was like missing a part of our summer events.”

Organizers are encouraging attendees to buy tickets online.

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