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Calgary Folk Fest "Virtually Live" summer series starts May 30


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Calgary Folk Fest matches artists from around the world for Virtually Live concert series.

It may not be exactly the same as basking in the sun at Prince’s Island Park or taking in a show at the Festival Hall in Inglewood, but the folks behind the Calgary Folk Music Festival are hoping a six-week series of exclusive, interactive concerts featuring acts from around the world will offer a taste of that festival vibe.

The Virtually Live series kicks off May 30 with local singer-songwriter Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and a second artist that has yet to be announced. Other artists participating over the six weeks include Calgary singer-songwriter Tom Phillips, Brazillian singer Josyara, blues guitarist Terra Lightfoot, Toronto singer Kaia Kater, California folkie Tre Burt, Portland’s Haley Heynderickx, Ireland’s Mick Flannery, Iowa’s alt-country troubadour William Elliott Whitmore, indie-rock expat and Jewel collaborator Steve Poltz and a few more who have yet to be announced.

“We’re looking at the same diversity and mix of genres and genders and cultures that we do with all of our programming, including the summer festival and Block Heater,” says Kerry Clarke, artistic director of the Calgary Folk Music Festival. “We’re celebrating Canada but also looking at artists from other places in the world. In this one, we have the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Ireland. There wouldn’t be two Calgary artists because they can play with each other all the time. So it’s kind of like the workshops, it’s nice if they can hang with someone else and have that connection. So we were thinking of artists who would work well together.”

The series will run Saturday afternoons and evenings from May 30 to July 4. The festival is also planning activities from July 23 to 26, which was when the festival was set to run at Prince’s Island Park before it was among the summer events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virtually Live concerts will cost $8 and each artist will play for 45 minutes from their home or local venue. The Zoom platform will allow for performers to interact with spectators. Up to 1,000 audience members can participate concurrently. The concerts will use Side Door Access, a platform co-created by B.C. singer-songwriter Dan Mangan and former music journalist Laura Simpson.

“The idea of us pairing these artists is that it’s a bit of a show, it’s not just one concert and then the other,” Clarke says. “There is the opportunity to have two or three songs from the first and then the second and the audience can ask a question or request a song. We’ve purposely connected these people.”

Some artists are yet to be announced, but the tentative schedule is:

May 30: Michael Bernard Fitzgerald/second artist TBA

June 6: Josyara and Terra Lightfoot

June 13: Tom Phillips and Kaia Kater

June 20: Tre Burt and Haley Heynderickx

June 27: Steve Poltz/second artist TBA

July 4: Mick Flannery and William Elliott Whitmore

To buy tickets and for more information, visit calgaryfolkfest.com


Edited by Esau.
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