Two beloved Calgary events – Folkfest, Expo – set to continue this summer

Kathy McLeod dressed as Ursula from The little Mermaid participates in Calgary comic and entertainment expo's Parade of Wonders in downtown Calgary on Friday, April 26, 2019. LIVEWIRE CALGARY FILE PHOTO (Azin Ghaffari)

Two of Calgary’s most popular festivals will go ahead this year, albeit with some slight changes.

With the pandemic’s end drawing nearer, two of Calgary’s most popular summer events have moved ahead with their 2021 plans.

Both Calgary Expo and the Calgary Folk Music Festival have announced that the festivities will continue later this year.

Fandom Community

In 2020 Calgary Expo was forced to cancel due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. It was a disappointment to many fans due to the star studded guest list, which included Dave Bautista, George Takei, and Matthew Lewis. A similar fate also befell the Calgary Folk Music Festival which up until that point had been operating for 41 consecutive years.

Andrew Moyes who is the Fan Expo HQ Vice President said that this year’s version of the expo will be unlike any other.

“Events like Calgary Expo are so much more than just fun festivals of fandom. For many they are vital touchpoints for community and for fostering a sense of belonging,” said Moyes.

The Expo will continue this year with ticket sales limited to 25,000 to ensure that the festival is operating as responsible as possible. The limited-edition event will go from Sept. 10 to 12. The opening day will be dedicated to frontline heroes.

Though no mention of celebrity guests have been made at the moment, fans can expect to see their favourite aspects of the convention return with things like the Artists Alley and the Cosplay Red Carpet.

Tickets for that will be made available June 22 starting at 10 a.m.

The music continues

The Calgary Folk Music Festival will bring back the tunes with the Summer Serenades series. It will go from July 22-28 at Prince’s Island Park.

Due to the Calgary Folk Music Festival being an entirely outdoor event, certain measures had to be taken to ensure that attendees were able to enjoy the festival in a safe manner. It will also only have the mainstage events and not some of the additional festival activities.

Artistic director Kerry Clarke said there are many safety protocols in place. One will be an assigned space of roughly six-by-eight feet, which is enough to accommodate four adults and two children.

“This decision was calculated and based on being able to space people apart in the main field with six feet between each person,” said Clarke.

Due to the spacing, the festival is limited to only 15 percent of its capacity. They can have up to 1,200 adults and 600 children. Other safety measures have been taken as well such as visual indicators to social distance wherever possible and hand sanitizer stations being available at multiple locations throughout the festival grounds.

“Going forward they can expect us to continue to be creative and adaptable and work with whatever the situation is in order to keep presenting live music and live arts to people,” said Clarke.

Some of the big names that will perform include: Cowboy Junkies, Dan Mangan, Hawksley Workman and Jim Cuddy. More information, including a full series lineup can be found at the Calgary Folkfest website.

Thanks to sponsors, this year’s event will also be made available via livestream. More information on that is expected to come.

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