Albertan Summertime Festival Guide
Feed Your Soul & Inspire Your Creative Side
Festival season is finally here! It’s the time of year when us industry folk come out from behind our computer screens, and emerge from our studios; where we’ve been hiding for the colder months. Festivals are an integral part of our culture. They are melting pots for creativity, inspiration, and camaraderie. They are our community centres, that some of us refer to as ‘home’.
Whether you produce music, throw parties, own a label, manage artists, work in harm reduction, build stages, are a sound or lighting tech, or are involved in the scene in anyway, festivals are your time to shine! Festivals showcase all of the work everyone has accomplished over the past year.
Now is the season to get your fill of deep belly laughs, late night boogie sessions, and early morning sunrise shenanigans. Here is a list of top Albertan summertime events, that are guaranteed to feed your soul and inspire your creative side:
Ticket price: $239
Astral harvest has become well known for it’s great music, and it’s welcoming community of open minded people. It’s a celebration of music, art, knowledge, community, and the human experience. With four uniquely designed stages, world class lightning, visuals, and sound, Astral Harvest is a truly immersive festival experience.
When not on the dance floor, attendees have a number of extra curricular activities to partake in. There is a market place, art studio, food trucks, and the “Astral Harvard” educational space. This is a family friendly event, with a designated “playground” area, that has scheduled activities.
Standouts from the lineup: Matroda, Ill.Gates, Codes, Stickybuds, Of The Trees.
Yellowhead County, AB
Ticket price: Tier 4 weekend pass $259
Borealis is Alberta’s answer to the boutique music festival. It provides an intimate atmosphere, laid-back vibes, three custom-designed stages, and an eager, open-minded crowd. The festival will be showcasing Albertan artists and international headliners. Entering into its second year, the event has upgraded to a new location. Organizers are claiming that the new location is bigger, better, and more beautiful. Beyond the music, party-goers can participate in yoga, movement, and mediation workshops.
Standouts from the lineup: Martyn, Rockwell, Skittles, Anna Morgan, Greazus, Little Snake.
Ticket price: $85
Entering into its first year, this event promises to be a congregation point for Alberta’s music & arts community. Their goal is to create a meaningful and safe space for festival goers to express themselves and connect with others.
Standouts from the lineup: TBA
Inner city festivals:
Sled Island Music & Arts Festival
Ticket price: $225
Sled Island has been around since 2007, and is recognized nationally for its eclectic lineup and independent spirit. For five days, over 40,000 attendees will discover new bands and artists across Calgary's many diverse venues. Although you can purchase individual tickets to certain events, getting a Discovery Pass is hands down the best option. The pass grants you access to over 250 bands, comedians, films and art, in +30 different venues. Be prepared to be really, really busy over this weekend, because there is an insane amount of programming to take in!
Standouts from the lineup: Le1f, Ouri, Jack Harlow, Selci, Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones Live AV
Ticket price: $114.98 - $205.75 + SC
Boodang Outdoor Music Festival takes place over the Canada Day long weekend, on the grounds of the Expo Centre. The event has over 20 artists performing across two outdoor stages and a third indoor stage. With some of the most recognized names from house to hardstyle, this event is guaranteed to be a rowdy party!
Standouts from the lineup: Duke Dumont, Martin Garrix, Adventure Club, RL Grime, Tiesto.
LEMF: Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival
Ticket price: free
LEMF is Western Canada's biggest free all-ages electronic music festival! The organizers vision is to showcase electronic music culture in a safe, family friendly, judgement free atmosphere. The performances will take place across three stages in the Galt Gardens park, downtown. There are also art installations, food vendors, artisan markets, and a kids zone to explore.
Standouts from the lineup: K Lab, WBBL, Dubconscious, X-Ray Ted, Nada Deva Music.
Ticket price: 2 day GA $179.95
This is a huge party! Located on the grounds that surround the Max Bell Centre, Chasing Summer boasts that it’s the largest EDM event in Western Canada. With some of the biggest names in EDM on the bill, the festival expects to host over 35,000 fans at the event. The music will be spread out across three stages, ensuring that partygoers have plenty to choose from.
Standouts from the lineup: The Chainsmokers, Above & Beyond, Steve Aoki, Slushii.
Ticket price: Early Bird 2 day pass (18+) $51.90, Kids (4-14) Saturday only $7.10
For two days Circle Carnival will be taking over Shaw Millennium Park, to celebrate the best of what Calgary has to offer. The music and performance lineup for the two stages is presented by BassBus. Beyond the stages there are tons of extras to keep you and your group entertained. Circle offers Village Brewery craft beer, YYC food trucks, a market, and family friendly scheduled activities (such as the Circle Carnival School, and wiener dog races).
Friday will be “adult night’, and you must be 18+ to attend between. Saturday is all ages, and everyone is welcome. There are official Circle after parties at The Hifi Club, on both Friday and Saturday night.
Standouts from lineup: TBA (Lineup will be announced in July)
Every Tuesday, 5-10PM
Ticket price: $4 (kids are free)
Versions has become a community staple, as a place for friends and families to congregate after work or school. The vibe is relaxed and inclusive; with no shortage of hugs, high-fives, and huge smiles to go around. Hosted by Esette, this event is entering into its 6th season on the Broken City patio. There are over 50 artists performing this summer, showcasing some of the best house & techno that Alberta has to offer.
This is a family friendly event until 9PM.
Standouts from the lineup: Announced weekly
Every Sunday, 3-8PM
Ticket price: free
For the past five years, Phatcat & Arson from Future Roots have been throwing a rowdy patio party in the heart of Old Strathcona. This daytime vibe session, held at The Pint, has become a niche hub for the D&B community. Showcasing local and regional drum & bass, jungle, and all of its appendages (fast dance music, halftime, & footwork), this party can be described as a ‘buck up’! If you feel like being more casual, you can still get wings and burgers, and be home before your bedtime.
Standouts from the lineup: Jake Robertz, Allan Flava, OpenEnd, Easy Riser & Ocean Tide, Cain, Zeal.
After the summer fun is over, be on the look-out for the AEMCON 2019 line-up to drop in September! Grab your early-bird pass here.
Title photo: Circle Carnival. Photographer: Bryan Dellosa (@beedee)