Free your wild side at Party In The Park


WHITECOURT AB — There’s a difference between live music outdoors, and live music in the great outdoors. Whitecourt, Alberta’s annual Party In The Park falls under the second category. This is not your typical urban patio concert or downtown bandshell show. 

Since 2007, the annual music festival has rocked Whitecourt’s Festival Park (formerly Rotary Park), which sits at town’s edge, just east of the fork in the waters where the McLeod River meets the mighty Athabasca River. 

Past headliners have included The Royal Foundry, Tyler Shaw, Doc Walker and the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer. Two days of performances and it’s all free! 

Simply put, there’s just a little extra wild in the Whitecourt experience. And with Party In The Park set for June 16 - 17, 2023, there’s few better ways to kick off an Alberta summer than a weekend filled with free live music and adventure in Whitecourt.

WATCH: there’s just a little more wild in Whitecourt

Watch Get into the Whitecourt summer flow with bikes, boats and tubes on YouTube.

This year, Whitecourt has built out a solid lineup for Party In The Park 2023. Friday night features an alt-rock vibe with headliners Fefe Dobson and Econoline Crush, while Saturday brings home the country with Jojo Mason and Jake Vaadeland & the Sturgeon River Boys. 

Whitecourt Party in the Park
Photo: supplied
Rockin' out at the 2022 Party In The Park.

But look beyond the headliners and you’ll see there’s a solid and growing list of up and coming Alberta artists, including Ikons the Kiss Experience, The Prairie States, The Mad Jacks and more.

How to Party In The Park 

At just under two hours’ drive northwest from Edmonton, sure you can drive up early Friday afternoon and be there in time for the first set. (The Friday show starts at 5:00—get all the details here.) 

But to really get the most out of your festival experience in Whitecourt, you may want to consider making a longer visit. Here are some ideas to round out your trip. 

Cooling off in Whitecourt 

Pro tip: bring your tubes and floaties. As big as snowmobiling is in winter here, watersports are in summer.

Bring your tubes to float down the McLeod River in Whitecourt.

Between dancing to sets at the main stage at Party In The Park, you can cool off quickly with a few fun rides down the river slides right in Festival Park just minutes from the stage. Or, give yourself a couple hours on a hot afternoon to float lazily down the McLeod River.

Whitecourt is also famous as one of only four venues worldwide that has hosted the World Jet Boat Marathon. If you have a boat, cruising the Athabasca River is a must-do. 

For the adrenaline seekers, read this story to connect to adventure

Golfing, hiking and biking 

Trails shoot off in all directions from Festival Park, leading along the river, up into the forested hills or out to the new mountain bike park (opened in 2022) which has some serious skill-testing features. Hikers will want to look up Coal Mine Lookout, E.S. Huestis Demonstration Forest or Hard Luck Canyon.

Bikers will love the big hits on stage and in the Whitecourt Mountain Bike Park.

But golfing is a big deal, and the par 72, 18-hole Whitecourt Golf and Country Club is a gem. There is one epic tee box that juts out into the river, challenging both your aim and driving power. 

I’d for sure slice it into the river but for duffers like me, there’s the more friendly greens of Brookes Creek Mini Golf. (Read more about golf in Whitecourt in this feature.) 

Down time in town 

Just need a little chill time? Find a curated selection of local and Alberta makers at White Wall or Beaver Creek General Store to add to your collection of fest destination memorabilia. Or grab a bite at one of Whitecourt's 40-plus restaurants, cafes and fast food franchises

Community is a big part of the event, and Whitecourt's town spirit will quickly become apparent. 

“Party In The Park is a much anticipated annual festival in Whitecourt, and people from across the region come to experience this event,” added Whitecourt Mayor Tom Pickard. 

“Our organizing team does a great job building a diverse lineup of entertainers from a variety of music genres, as well as a mix of local and national talent. Between the music and activities, there really is something for people of all ages to enjoy.”  

Sure, you can catch a music festival in a lot of places across Alberta. But add in some activities to round out the weekend and you’ll come away with both amazing memories and a sense of well being that you can only get from time in nature. And that’s why live music in the great outdoors is just that much better.

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