August loaded with fun festivals

In Calgary, August is the time for road trips, rafting and a whole bunch of festivals. This August, the Gauntlet takes a look at eight festivals — including music, cultural and food festivals — and gives you the low-down on where they are, when they are and some of the defining features of each.

Afrikadey! (August 6 – 8, various locations around Calgary)

Featuring traditional African music, hand drumming and dancing, this festival is a treat for those fascinated by a culture usually thought of as far-removed from typical cowboy Calgary. With free events like noon concerts at Olympic Plaza (Thursday) and Stephen Ave. (Friday), along with a mainstage festival at Prince’s Island Park (Saturday), Afrikadey! promises to be an exciting festival showing the rich tapestry of African culture.

Calgary International Blues Festival (August 6 – 9, Pumphouse Park)

Calgary’s beloved blues institution is back for another year of moody Americana and tales of loss and longing. This year features Watermelon Slim, playing Friday, a perennial favourite who has played Folk Fest, the Jubilee Auditorium and now graces Pumphouse Park. Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Booker T is another blues luminary showcased at the festival. While the venue is a little out of the way, Blues Fest is one of Calgary’s great musical secrets.

Virgin Festival (August 8 – 9, Canada Olympic Park)

Virgin Festival returns to Calgary with beloved groups like Pearl Jam (Saturday), Metric (Sunday) and Tokyo Police Club (also Sunday) taking the stage. Other great acts include Toronto’s finest in booty-bouncing club beats, Thunderheist, as well as K-OS. Local boys Secret Broadcast are also set to perform, so this year’s V-Fest will hopefully bring many new fans for their August 15 CD release.

Vans Warped Tour (August 12, Race City Motorsport Park)

This may be the last Calgary Warped Tour ever, with Race City set to close October 20. Warped Tour favourites Bad Religion, Less Than Jake and NOFX all play this year. While there are always some questionable acts — does anyone really need to see Brokencyde’s awful fusion of hardcore and blingstar rap? — Calgary punk music fans need to pick up their tickets and send Warped Tour off right.

Taste of Calgary (August 13 – 19, Eau Claire Festival Plaza)

Originally scheduled to begin August 6, Taste of Calgary has been postponed until August 13. Fear not, it just means that the food vendors can cook their food extra slow to fully bring out the flavour. Foodies and fans of general deliciousness can check out the food available at Eau Claire Festival Plaza, right outside Eau Claire Market.

Reggaefest (August 15, Shaw Millennium Park)

Take a day off work, chill out and shake ‘dem dreads at Reggaefest. If there ever was a good way of breaking out of the doldrums of day-to-day Calgary living, this is it. With performances by Edmonton-based Soulicitors, Mexican reggae act the Rastrillos and Newfoundland natives the Idlers, this is the perfect time to unleash the calm, relaxed inner Jamaican that we all wish we could show everyday.

Global Fest (August 14 – 29, various locations throughout Calgary)

Fireworks, a film festival component and even a Chinatown street festival are all part of this year’s Global Fest Calgary. With international fireworks displays from Canada, Mexico, Spain and China, plus the always necessary beer gardens, this year’s Global Fest is another in a great series celebrating the cultural diversity of Calgary.

Expo Latino (August 28 – 30, Prince’s Island Park)

End August off right by cooling down with some hot Latin beats. Thursday opens up with a special Reggaeton festival, which will end in sweaty dancing for everyone who attends. Not only will there be the typical music events, but Latin dancing will be on display as well, which is always fun to see — as well as vainly try to participate in.

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