Highline’s hand-selected list of fab festivals happening in and around the Canadian Rockies this summer.
June 2-August 29 (Banff)
The Banff Centre has been running their online Summer Arts Festival since 1933, showcasing an array of elite performances that encompass all aspects of the arts from dance, opera and theatre, to folk and classical music, literary readings, films and Indigenous arts. Highlights for 2015 include: Royal Wood, Blue Rodeo, and the Art of Time Ensemble. Check the website to keep up-to-date with artist announcements and ticket information.
June 19-20 (Banff)
Hello, 9-1-1? Yes, we’ve got a Joel Plaskett Emergency on our hands! He’s in Banff with Matt Andersen & the Mellotones, along with K-OS, Rural Alberta Advantage and Hannah Georgas. We’re a little worried we won’t be able to handle dancing for two days straight at Performance in the Park.
June 20 Pills (Jasper)
Sample fresh bannock and bush tea while taking in traditional dancing and drumming at the annual National Aboriginal Day celebration in Jasper National Park. The colourful traditional regalia will be sure to catch your eye and melt your heart.
June 24-28 (Calgary)
Sled Island aims to open up as much of Calgary’s downtown core as possible and fill it with as many types of people as possible using the appreciation of thoughtful, fun, music as the impetus to get together. Indie musicians, unite! We can dig it.
Late June to end of August (Revelstoke)
Quite possibly one of the best music festivals known to man, every night locals gather at Grizzly Plaza to embrace a range of unique artists — all performing live at the local bandstand. You read right — a bandstand. Mingle, eat ice cream, dance in the streets and let loose.
July 23-27 (Golden)
If electronic music is what you’re looking for this summer, head on over to Golden for the Motion Notion festival which celebrates everything the genre has to offer from music to art, as well as a supreme love for the great outdoors.
August 1-3 (Canmore)
Treat yourself to the sweet crooning of folk artists from far and wide, including Martin Sexton, Mike Farris, Bahamas, and Amelia Curran, while taking a leisurely stroll through the global artisan village at the Canmore Folk Music Festival.
***Pro tip: be sure to grab a pint at the Highline Magazine Pub Stage at the Miner’s Hall, sponsored by yours truly!
August 7-8 (Fernie)
What’s not to love about indie music, hosted in a beautiful mountain town, in a park that is bordered by the rushing waters of the majestic Elk River? With acts the like of The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer and Lovecoast playing? If you answered nothing, then you would be absolutely, 100 per cent correct. Just do it, trust us.
August 12-15 (Jasper)
Despite the historical significance that outfitting companies have here in the Rockies, when you think of summer festivals in the mountains, a rodeo isn’t usually the first thing that pops into your mind. The Jasper Heritage Rodeo changes that by celebrating mountain rodeo culture since 1926.
September 5-6 (Canmore)
To kilt or not to kilt? Regardless of your garment selection, it’s time to get your Celtic on at the 25th anniversary Canmore Highland Games where participants demonstrate skills in a range of events from piping and drumming, to traditional dance and the ever-popular heavy sport.
September 18, 19 and 20 (Revelstoke)
We’re (safely) going out on a limb to say drop what you’re doing and get tickets for this one! Within the next year, Axis Mundi Music and the City of Revelstoke will be presenting two annual experiential festivals for people of all ages and levels of experience. The inaugural “Axis Mundi Harvest” takes place in September, 2015 and will be followed up by “Axis Mundi Solstice” in June, 2016. Each weekend of events will be an exploration of music, adventure sport and the environment, all jam-packed into one community-creating culture fest. Features: Walk Off the Earth, Ashley MacIsaac, Baskery, Greg Hill and the Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra.
October 11 (Canmore)
Get this — the Grizzly Canmore Ultra Marathon and Relay is one of Canada’s largest and most popular Ultras. And!…this event sold out in 2014 with 1,300 spandex- and costume-clad trail runners, making for some bigtime energy and hilarious people-watching. Get ahead of the pack by signing up for the 50km solo or two or five person relay categories.