What’s left? The Gauntlet guide to August festivals

It’s been a tough year for festivals. The all-women Lilith Fair had to scale back a few events and in some cases even cancel shows due to weak ticket sales. The fear of low ticket sales also forced Canada’s Virgin Festival– the event that brought Pearl Jam, Tokyo Police Club and Metric to Calgary’s Olympic Park last year– to take a hiatus. Financial problems caused Calgary’s Jazz Fest’s cancellation two days before it was set to start, leaving attendees, bands and venues scrambling to find alternate arrangements. Finally, Van’s Warped Tour decided to migrate north to Edmonton for the year.

That may seem like a daunting list, but there’s still a lot going on in Calgary this month. Let the Gauntlet be your guide to what’s left.

Calgary Fringe Festival (July 30 to August 7, various locations in Inglewood)

Calgary Fringe Festival has returned for its fifth year and still boasts being Calgary’s only summer theatre festival. Though the festival is already in full swing, it runs until this Saturday.

The 101 Naked Calgarians photo exhibit should be worth a visit as long as you don’t see someone you know and on Saturday you can catch the Best of Fest 2010 winner at 1 p.m.

Calgary International Blues Fest (August 5-8, Shaw Millennium Park)

Calgary’s International Blues Fest returns for another year, albeit in a different locale. The Fest has moved from Pumphouse Park to the more central Shaw Millennium Park.

Little Feat are the darlings of this year’s show, though true blues fans will have to accept that they are more rock than blues. Locals Bob Deutscher and Kelly Kavanagh are worth keeping an eye on as well.

Afrikadey (August 9-14, Prince’s Island Park)

Afrikadey returns for another year with a cornucopia of cultural offerings for Calgarians to enjoy. The festival tackles every aspect of African culture, from music to literature and from fashion to food. Though there are many great events to attend, one of the highlights is definitely K’Naan’s appearance on the mainstage on Saturday.

Taste of Calgary (August 12-15, Eau Claire Market)

Everyone knows Calgary’s got great cuisine, but sometimes it can be hard to find exactly what you are craving. Enter Taste of Calgary. This year’s festival boasts over 30 restaurants and offerings from 20 unique alcoholic beverage providers from Big Rock to Dr. McGillicuddy’s– which is good, because it’s bad to eat on an empty stomach.

Calgary ReggaeFest (August 21, Shaw Millennium Park)

You should probably leave your Paul Rudd impressions at home if you plan on attending Calgary’s ReggaeFest. Though the festival is only one day long, it’s going to be full of entertainment. Musical performances start at 11 a.m. and run 12 hours straight. There’s also youth activities, arts and crafts, beer and food.

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