Edmonton Folk Music Festival

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.

During the daytime hours of the festival, there are six active stages hosting workshops and concerts.[2] Food vendors number in the dozens, ranging from carnival fare to vegetarian and world cuisine. A tent village houses craftspeople and there is a CD tent where the performers' albums can be purchased. There is also a large and busy 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 2300 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.

For 2 years, a fifth evening of music was added, with revenue from that concert being dedicated to the festival's endowment fund. Since 2011, the festival has been four days.

The festival is extremely successful, and has sold out for 21 years (as of 2015)(12,000 weekend passes and 1,000 single-day tickets evenly divided between in-person and online sales) in just minutes.[3]

Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Edmonton Skyline from Folk Festival
View of Edmonton skyline from EFMF
GenreFolk music
Location(s)Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
53°32′02″N 113°28′19″W / 53.534°N 113.472°WCoordinates: 53°32′02″N 113°28′19″W / 53.534°N 113.472°W
Years active1980 – present
Founded byDon Whalen


The Edmonton Folk Music Festival has hosted musicians from six continents, including acts from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Mongolia, China, India, and Tuva. The majority of performers come from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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, Blue Rodeo, 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, Michael Franti, Hanggai, K'Naan, and Passenger. In addition to mainstage and sidestage concerts by individual artists, the festival has artists collaborate on shared stages.

Each year, the festival showcases local Edmonton performers, from youth to young adults to seasoned performers.


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

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

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Edmonton Folk Music Festival". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Dominion. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  2. ^ " 2016 Edmonton Folk Fest an understated, wonderful weekend". Edmonton Sun, By Fish Griwkowsky. August 07, 2016
  3. ^ https://edmontonjournal.com/news/Folk+Fest+sells+record+time/6714996/story.html#ixzz235X1F0AA
  4. ^ Birtles, Bryan (3 August 2011). "How did we get here? The origins of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival". Music Story Archive. VUE Weekly. Archived from the original on 17 May 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2011.

Further reading

  • 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

Amy Helm

Amy Helm (born December 3, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter and daughter of The Band drummer Levon Helm and singer Libby Titus. She is a past member of the Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble Band and Ollabelle, as well as her own touring band.

Her debut solo album, Didn’t It Rain, was released in July 2015, and her second release This Too Shall Light will be released September 2018 on Yep Roc Records.Helm conducted an in-depth interview about her life and career with The Pods & Sods Network in 2016 That year she and her band performed at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.


AnExchange was a Marin County based folk-rock group of the late 1960s, playing opening acts at San Carlos's Circle Star Theater for Ike & Tina Turner, The Everly Brothers and Joan Baez at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

Cloverdale, Edmonton

Cloverdale is a river valley neighbourhood in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada located on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. It is located immediately across the river from the downtown core and the river valley neighbourhood of Riverdale. Southside neighbourhoods overlooking Cloverdale include: Bonnie Doon, Strathearn, Holyrood, and Forest Heights. The southwest corner of the neighbourhood is bounded by Connor's Road, the approaches to the Low Level Bridge, and the mouth of the Mill Creek Ravine. The Low Level Bridge and James McDonald Bridge connect the neighbourhood to the north side, while Scona Road provides access to Old Strathcona.

The Muttart Conservatory—a botanical garden consisting of four glass, pyramid-shaped structures that showcase plants from arid, tropical, and temperate climates—is located in the Cloverdale neighbourhood.

Gallagher Park, where the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is held every August, is also located in Cloverdale.

Cloverdale is also home to Edmonton's oldest ski hill, The Edmonton Ski Club.

The community is represented by the Cloverdale Community League, established in 1920, which maintains a community hall and outdoor rink located at 94 Street and 97 Avenue.

Edmonton/Villeneuve Airport

Edmonton/Villeneuve Airport or Villeneuve Airport (ICAO: CZVL) is located 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) west of Villeneuve in Sturgeon County, Alberta, Canada.

Edmonton Ski Club

Edmonton Ski Club is located on Connors Hill, the slope of the North Saskatchewan River valley, in the heart of downtown Edmonton, in the community of Cloverdale. The top of the hill yields a great view of the downtown core behind the Muttart Conservatory.

The Edmonton Ski Club is a Not-for-Profit Society established in 1911. During the winter months, the hill offers skiing and snowboarding on machine-made, groomed snow. The hill has five surface lifts including a T-Bar for uphill transportation. In summer, the grassy hills are used by a variety of slope sports including dirtsurfing. In August, these same slopes become seating areas for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

In 2017, the lease for the buildings was terminated.

Erynn Marshall

Erynn Marshall (born c. 1977) is a Canadian old-time fiddler, ethnomusicologist, teacher, and author.

She was originally from Victoria, British Columbia and later lived in Gibsons, British Columbia. In 1998 she traveled to Toronto to pursue graduate studies at York University, graduating in 2003 with an M.A. degree in ethnomusicology. In 2006 she received an Appalachian Fellowship from Berea College in Kentucky, where studying Kentucky fiddle styles for three months. Her fiddle instructors include Melvin Wine, Lester McCumbers, Leland Hall, and Art Stamper.

She has performed with The Haints Old Time Stringband since 2007. In addition to playing, teaching, and writing about old-time music she also composes tunes. She has recorded with Eve Goldberg and Justin Rutledge.

Marshall has lived in Galax, Virginia since 2009. Since 2009 she has served as concert coordinator for the Blue Ridge Music Center.She received a CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award in 2006 at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In 2008 she won the fiddle contest at the Clifftop festival in West Virginia, the first female and the first person from outside the United States to do so.

Four Strong Winds

"Four Strong Winds" is a song written by Ian Tyson in the early 1960s and recorded by Canadian folk duo Ian and Sylvia. A significant part of the early 1960s folk revival, the song is a melancholy reflection on a failing romantic relationship. The singer expresses a desire for a possible reunion in a new place in the future ("You could meet me if I sent you down the fare") but acknowledges the likelihood that the relationship is over ("But our good times are all gone/And I'm bound for moving on ...").

The song has a clear Canadian context and subtext, including an explicit mention of the province Alberta as well as references to long, cold winters. In 2005, CBC Radio One listeners chose this song as the greatest Canadian song of all time on the series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version.

Gallagher Park (Edmonton)

Gallagher Park is a park in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is named after former mayor Cornelius Gallagher and is the site for the annual Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

Holger Petersen

Holger Petersen, CM., D Litt. (born 23 November 1949) is a Canadian businessman, record producer and radio broadcaster. He owns and operates the independent roots music label Stony Plain Records, founded in 1975 with partner Alvin Jahns. Petersen was born in Pellworm Island, West Germany.

Petersen has hosted Saturday Night Blues since 1987, heard on CBC Radio One, Radio Two and SiriusXM 169 and Natch'l Blues since 1969, the longest running blues program in Canada, on the CKUA Radio Network. Petersen was a founder of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and served as the artistic director from 1986 to 1988. He has served on boards of numerous industry organizations, including SOCAN, CMRRA, CARAS and CIRPA and helped found the Alberta Recording Industries Association (now Alberta Music).

His first book, Talking Music: Blues Radio and Roots Music, was published in 2011 by Insomniac Press. His second book, Talking Music 2: Blues and Roots Music Mavericks, was released in January 2017.He has also been a drummer and was a member of Spiny Norman's Whoopee Band and Hot Cottage.

Petersen was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2003 for contributions to Canadian culture, and has received honorary doctorates from both the University of Alberta and Athabasca University.Petersen has been contributed to more than 180 music projects since 1970.Petersen is based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Ian Bell (musician)

Ian Bell (born 1954) is a Canadian folk musician, composer, and singer-songwriter who has been active in the Canadian folk music scene since the 1970s. With Anne Lederman, he was part of the seminal Canadian folk group Muddy York. He has been the leader of The Dawnbreakers and Professor Chalaupka's Celebrated Singing School. Bell has performed at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the Mariposa Folk Festival, among others. He has contributed to the development and preservation of Canadian folk music for more than twenty-five years. He sings both old songs and his own original compositions. His music has a Celtic flavour. He is a versatile musician who plays several instruments.

Bell spent most of his time as a part-time musician, also working in museums, the last being curator of the Port Dover Harbour Museum on Lake Erie. He left the museum in 2013 and has been working in music and art since.

Lera Lynn

Lera Lynn (born December 5, 1984) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actress.

List of festivals in Alberta

The following is an incomplete list of annual festivals in the province of Alberta, Canada. This list includes festivals of diverse types, including regional festivals, commerce festivals, fairs, food festivals, arts festivals, religious festivals, folk festivals, and recurring festivals on holidays.

List of festivals in Edmonton

This is an incomplete list of festivals in Edmonton, a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. Edmonton plays host to several large festivals each year, hence its local nickname as 'the Festival City.' This list includes festivals of diverse types, including regional festivals, commerce festivals, fairs, food festivals, arts festivals, religious festivals, folk festivals, and recurring festivals on holidays.

List of music festivals in Canada

This is an incomplete list of music festivals in Canada.

Margaret Christl

Margaret Christl is a Scottish-Canadian folksinger. Christl was born in England, grew up in Scotland and West Wales and emigrated to Canada in 1966. She became active in the folk revival scene, playing many folk festivals, including the Mariposa Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival and the Calgary Folk Music Festival, as well as the club and coffeehouse circuit. She has released a number of albums with different folk labels, including The Barley grain for me. This album was recorded with Ian Robb and William Laskin in 1976 with Folk-Legacy Records and was dedicated to Edith Fowke, a very important scholar, folklorist and collector of folk music in Canada. Christl performs traditional Scottish and Canadian songs, as well as more contemporary songs. She is often accompanied by guitarists, but also plays the mountain dulcimer and the Bodhrán. Christl frequently performed with Ian Robb, Grit (William) Laskin and Stewart Cameron.

Music of Alberta

Alberta has a diverse music scene of pop, rock, country, jazz, folk, caribbean, classical, and blues music. Music festivals in the Summers are representing these genres. Choral music, ethnic music of many nationalities, all are found in Alberta.

The independent music scene is supported by two alternative newspapers: Fast Forward Weekly in Calgary, and BeatRoute Magazine. Vue Weekly of Edmonton used to cover the music scene, but was disbanded in 2018.

Muttart stop

Muttart stop is a tram stop under construction in the Edmonton Light Rail Transit network in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It will serve the Valley Line, and is located adjacent to the Muttart Conservatory, south of 98 Avenue, in Cloverdale. The stop is scheduled to open in 2020.

Tift Merritt

Catherine Tift Merritt (born January 8, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She has released seven studio albums, two for Lost Highway Records, two for Fantasy Records, and three for Yep Roc Records.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.