Edmonton – look for festivals out your backdoor


Edmonton – look for festivals out your backdoor

Summer is here! And that means the bustling festival season kicks into high gear. Alberta’s capital city is no stranger to the festival scene, having earned its moniker ‘Canada’s Festival City’ for hosting over 50 festivals annually. The summer season provides the widest range of opportunities to partake in festival fun showcasing Edmonton’s love of arts and culture, food, and entertainment. Don’t miss these top picks for some of Edmonton’s most beloved summer festivals. And if you’re travelling to the Edmonton area for the first time, visit Travel Alberta for a list of more must-do activities.

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Freewill Shakespeare Festival (June 19 – July 15)

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date” quoth Shakespeare in his “Sonnet 18”. The wise Bard had it right – summer’s fleeting warmth and sunshine will be here and gone in the blink of an eye, so be sure to make the most of it. What better way to enjoy a summer evening than by taking in the works of William Shakespeare at the Heritage Amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park. The festival features contemporary and innovative spins on the beloved plays that both long-time Shakespeare enthusiasts and newcomers alike will enjoy. This year’s plays are The Comedy of Errors – one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays about a pair of twins separated at birth – and the well-known tragedy Hamlet whose eponymous character seeks revenge for the death of his father. In addition to the performances, the festival also features special wine and food pairing events, puppet shows, and more. Learn more here.

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (July 10 – 15)

For 10 days this July, Edmonton’s Dr Wilbert McIntyre will be transformed into a spectacular outdoor theatre with more than 1500 zany performances from over 40 local and international artists. Back for its 34th year, the festival is a showcase of unique talents such as magicians, clowns, acrobats, musicians, and high-wire artists. The festival also features daily entertainment by a variety of other vendors such as improv actors, face painters, and balloon artists. In addition to the main performances, the event will also have nightly Troup du Jour performances where individual artists get together to perform and nighttime adult cabaret shows. Find out more.

A Taste of Edmonton (July 18 – 29)

No summer festival lineup would be complete without celebrating your inner foodie. Back for its 34th year, Canada’s biggest outdoor food festival has cultivated a summer tradition in the city, bringing Edmontonians and tourists together to sample some of the city’s best eats. For 11 days this July, Capital Plaza will be host to the Taste Piazza, where festivalgoers can peruse the many vendor stands and sample scrumptious food and carefully selected drink pairings. The Piazza will also feature free live entertainment every evening, and a comfy seating area where you can relax and enjoy your food selections. See the Taste of Edmonton site for full details.

Interstellar Rodeo (July 20 – 22)

Edmonton’s Interstellar Rodeo is a uniquely crafted festival-going experience where music and food and drink meet. The music festival prides itself on its eclectic lineup of musicians that range from indie and soul to alternative country and rock ‘n roll. On the list of this year’s performers are Alberta-raised Feist, Torontonians July Talk, and Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red – just a few names on a long list of talented performers. In addition to having a spectacular musical lineup, Interstellar Rodeo aims to perfectly pair the entertainment with food and drink selections. Find a variety of local food trucks at the festival, along with craft beer and wine carefully curated by wine personality Gurvinder Bhatia. 

Servus Heritage Festival (August 4 – 6)

For three days this August, come globe-hop around the world as Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park is transformed into the world’s largest celebration of multiculturalism with food, music, and art from countries across the world. Spend the weekend learning about over 85 cultures with free and family-friendly performances of cultural song and dance, depictions of what life is like in different cultures, and samplings of traditional food and drink. The annual event, now in its 43rd year, brings thousands of festival goers together to celebrate and share the traditional food, art, and dress from Edmonton’s diverse multicultural community. Visit the Servus Heritage Festival page for more details.

Edmonton Folk Festival (August 9 – 12)

With roots deep in the 80’s, the Edmonton Folk Festival is one of the city’s most beloved music festivals and is proudly back for its 38th year from August 9 – 12 at Gallagher Park. The not-for-profit festival is a showcase of folk music talent from all over the world. Since the ’80s, musicians like Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, City and Colour, and The Decemberists have adorned the festival’s stage with their talents, bringing festival goers back for more each year.

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