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10 tips to make the most of your Calgary Folk Festival experience
Whether you’re a first time attendee or a seasoned vet—you need these insider tips
By ATB Events Team 14 July 2022 4 min read
If you’re planning to attend the Calgary Folk Music Festival this year, you’ll need to know how to prepare and what to bring before you cruise down to Prince’s Island Park.
So whether you need a reminder to pack a pair of comfortable sneakers (trust us, you’ll get your steps in) or a prompt to prep all your favourite, energy-fuelling snacks, ATB has the pro tips you’ll need for a fun-filled festival.
#1. Dress for comfort and the weather
It wouldn’t be a true Alberta event if the unpredictable weather weren’t a headliner in its own right. Our first tip? Dress in layers to stay warm and dry throughout the day. You may be tempted to wear new kicks with your festival fit, but the best option is a pair of sneakers that can handle any terrain and climate. Worst case scenario, the Calgary Folk Music Festival always has ponchos for sale on site.
#2. If your favourite artist is on the main stage, arrive early
Each year, the Calgary Folk Music Festival has a tarp lineup, where veteran attendees arrive as early as 5 AM to scope out the best spots and set up their chairs and tarps as close to the stage as possible. If you’re hoping for the full, expert-level festival experience, we suggest you pack your thermos with coffee and bring a book to read or tee up a podcast (ATB’s Future of is a great option) while you wait for the festival to open. Spoiler alert: Saturday early birds should keep their eyes out for some furry visitors from our friends at PALS.
#3. Choose the perfect home base or muster point
If you miss the tarp lineup or are planning to hit the festival later in the day, you should designate a meeting spot so that you and your friends can see all of your favourite artists and still find each other in between sets. Some choose to bring a funky item, like a rubber ducky, to hang as a marker—just make sure you aren’t obstructing the view of other festival-goers. Another great place to meet your friends is the ATB Atrium, this year’s go-to spot for tons of seating, great contests to enter and phone charging stations.
#4. Bring your favourite debit or credit card
This year, the Calgary Folk Music Festival is going cashless. So, make sure you have your budget set and access to a debit or credit card that you can tap along the way and throughout the day.
#5. Make it affordable in your own way
Music festivals can be expensive, but the Calgary Folk Music Festival allows you to choose your adventure as far as spending goes. You’re free to bring your own food. We recommend bringing budget friendly snacks to eat throughout the day so you’re free to indulge at a local food truck or vendor for lunch or dinner.
#6. Bring a reusable water bottle
Another environmentally conscious way to save money is to bring your favourite reusable water bottle. On-site, there is plenty of fresh and clean water to sip on and stay hydrated through the long festival days.
#7. Keep in mind that the festival has an all-site license
If water isn’t enough to satiate you, the festival has an all-suite license allowing you to drink an alcoholic beverage on your own tarp this year. As a friendly reminder for anyone who is drinking, Calgary Folk Music Festival is one of the greenest festivals in the world. So, remember to recycle or compost your drinks and do your part to keep the park clean.
#8. Shop local at the festival
We all know it’s been a rough couple of years for small businesses. If you’re in a position to support local vendors during the event, it will be appreciated. You can purchase a 50/50 ticket from someone in a yellow shirt or online using the festival QR code, head to the marketplace to score local goods from one of 20 artisan businesses or check out the shops around Eau Claire.
#9. Be kind to Folk Fest volunteers
As we all know, most big events like this wouldn’t be what they are without their wonderful volunteers. For that reason, one of the best ways to show your true Albertan colours is to offer verbal gratitude to all the fantastic people giving their time to make the Calgary Folk Music Festival everything you hoped it would be.
#10. Know before you go (by car, bike or train)
Last but not least, when it comes to getting down to Prince’s Island Park, 30% of festival-goers arrive via bike. If you want to join them, remember to bring your lock and find one of the self-serve stations to lock yours up. Otherwise, you can use transit and walk down or score a spot in the parking lot in Eau Claire. The new Jaipur pedestrian bridge is open this year, so feel free to use this entry point.
Whether you are a long-time attendee or new to the festival experience, the best part of attending Calgary Folk Music Festival is the community experience. ATB has always been proud to support this vital community event. We continued that support during the pandemic, paying our sponsorship fees in full, working with the Folk Fest team to provide alternative programming and creating an opportunity for the public to show their support for Folk Fest through ATB Cares. But, we’ll be honest, we’re even more thrilled to join Folk Fest in welcoming people back in person to Prince’s Island this year.