Best of the summer 2023 festival season in photos

Scorching hot, smoky, sweaty, rich and colourful... 

It's hard to capture in a single freeze-frame, but as we look back on the festival season that was in summer 2023, we can see how truly special it was. 

“This was the first real season since the pandemic where things felt normal, fun and wonderful,” says festival veteran Stevie Gaultier, FestivalSeekers’ community lead. 

And it was on full display in the many photos entered into our photo contest. 

Keep reading to see the photo contest winners!

“It really showed in the amount of people who went out to support community events," Gaultier adds, "as well as the sheer number of events that went down.” 

Even when we hit a few bumps and curves, the energy was positive and the crowds were kind. What bumps and curves, you ask?

First wildfires, then floods nearly postponed Whitecourt’s Party in the Park. 

Then there were smoky days that made for moody images like these, by runner-up Hari Singh from his visit to Medicine Hat Ribfest.

In August we watched as the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival was canceled amid resurging fires, and travel (briefly) shut down across the region. 

Hail pelted the first night of the Edmonton Fringe. 

Still, the crowds came and the festivals (with very few exceptions) partied on.

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So to all of you, cheers; and without further delay, let’s reminisce about some of the best moments through these great photos.

Photo contest winners

Our "Celebrate the 2023 summer festival scene" contest saw an incredible number of great entries. So above all, kudos to all of you, it's great to see so many of you out enjoying and supporting the scene here in Western Canada!

Here are our winners. 

First place: Chau Ngo, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

You can see the sheer joy of performing for a live audience on these musicians’ faces.

Second Place: Morgan Turner, Rock the Kootenays

There’s nothing like that warm glow of the stage lights as the beat drops. This photo puts us right there!

Third place: Devin Olfrey, Surrey Fusion Fest

Dance, colour and culture come together here, in a beautifully captured moment.

Photo contest runners up

What makes a great festival photo? We lean towards the feel, above all. Amazing professional shots were included in the submissions, but we also saw amateurs whose simple joie de vivre shone through the screen. 

In the end, we chose what we felt were the most powerful, evocative images, but these were far from easy choices and there were many more worthy submissions. 

Here are a few more that deserved mention.

Sunset at Edmonton Folk Fest 
Always, 100%, a classic.

BC Seafood Fest at Mount Washington Alpine Resort 
We could eat.

Bear Creek Folk Fest, Grande Prairie 
It’s always interactive with the Arrogant Worms (lol).

Best place to dance your heart out all night? If you ask DJ Mag, yes.

Calgary Folk Fest 
These retro, artsy feels hit just right.

And to keep the party going, check out all the great entries posted to our Facebook contest entry post here. 

So many, many great photos and moments!

Enjoy that warm glow for a moment, and then get ready. Now that fall is here, it’s time to keep those vibes going strong. 

Get into the fall season with this list of great seasonal events across Alberta and BC for fall. 

And to keep up on our contests, exclusive new feature stories and festival updates, in all seasons, be sure to sign up for FestivalSeekers enews.

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