Edmonton Folk Music Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Genre Folk music
Location(s) Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
53°32′02″N 113°28′19″W / 53.534°N 113.472°W / 53.534; -113.472Coordinates: 53°32′02″N 113°28′19″W / 53.534°N 113.472°W / 53.534; -113.472
Years active 1980 – present
Founded by Don Whalen

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is an annual four-day outdoor music event held the second weekend of August in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, established in 1980 by Don Whalen.[1] The festival continues to draw many people from around the world as both spectators and performers. The current producer of the festival is Terry Wickham.

The festival showcases performers in many genres. Most years, folk, Celtic, bluegrass, blues, gospel, roots, and worldbeat acts perform. Past main stage performers include k.d. lang, Joni Mitchell, Stan Rogers, Great Big Sea, Oysterband, Loreena McKennitt, Norah Jones, Steve Earle, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, David Gray, Neko Case, Van Morrison, David Byrne and Michael Franti. In addition to mainstage and sidestage concerts by individual artists, the festival has artists collaborate on shared stages.

During the daytime hours of the festival, there are six active stages hosting workshops and concerts. One stage is devoted to children's entertainment. Food vendors number in the dozens, ranging from carnival fare to vegetarian and world cuisine. A large tent houses craftspeople and there is a CD tent where the performers' albums can be purchased. There is also a beer garden, which serves more beer than any other single event in western Canada.

The EFMF relies heavily on volunteers which keeps ticket prices down. Volunteers do everything from picking garbage to working as stage hands. There are approximately 2000 people on the volunteer list each year.

The EFMF is held at Gallagher Park, on the southern slope of the North Saskatchewan River valley. During the winter the area is a ski club. The mainstage audience seating is a natural amphitheatre with great sightlines. The skyline of downtown Edmonton acts as a backdrop for the stage.

In recent years, a fifth evening of music has been added, with revenue from that concert being dedicated to the festival's endowment fund.

The festival is extremely successful, but this has spawned problems. The 2012 edition sold out (11,000 weekend passes and 1,000 daily casual tickets evenly divided between in-person and online sales) in just minutes[2] thus leaving many potential fans without tickets and leading to a seller's market for re-sales. Not coincidentally, 2012 saw the inaugural edition of a new folk and rock festival, Interstellar Rodeo, launched by Folk Fest fan Shauna de Cartier of Six Shooter Records.[3]


The first edition of the festival was organized as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Alberta, and was held in Gold Bar Park, moving to its current venue in 1981.[1][4]

Artistic directors[edit]

  • 1980-1985 Don Whalen
  • 1986-1988 Holger Petersen
  • 1989–present Terry Wickham[1]

See also[edit]



Further reading[edit]

  • Campbell, Rod (1994). Playing the Field, The Story of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Edmonton: B. Evan White Publishing. ISBN 0-9698357-0-1. 

External links[edit]