When to Go in Edmonton

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A Canadian joke goes like this: "What are the seasons in Canada? Winter and July!" This short joke shows the great appreciation that Canadians have for the summer months, particularly July because it brings into town thousands of artists, musicians and experts, drawn by the more than 1,000 festivals that Edmonton hosts throughout the year. Throughout the summer the city becomes alive with incredibly blues, bluegrass, folk, jazz, world music and symphonic music festivals. Here are a couple of ideas to plan your visit to Edmonton.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival (August)

The Edmonton Folks Music Festival happens each year in the second weekend in August and is well known for providing open air performances at reasonable prices. Since 1980, the vision of this festival is to evolve as a global leader in community based folk music celebrations. On top of all great performances available throughout the length of this festival, one of the main attractions is the Festival House Band that forms every year with a different lineup. To be invited to play at The Festival House Bands an honor that very few musicians enjoy.

Edmonton's International Fringe Theater Festival (July)

Second only in size to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edmonton's premier theater festival attracts about half a million visitors every summer, who come to see the over 1,000 performances that the Edmonton's International Fringe Theater Festival offers. In the heart of OldStratchcona, one of the coolest Canadian districts, the Edmonton Fringe Festival has hosted theatrical experiences to audiences and artists for many years. This is a 10 day celebration on non juried, highly experimental and indie theater. 

The Whyte Avenue area is usually packed with locals and tourists, but during the Fringe this sector truly becomes alive. Don't think for a second that this festival is just for drama queens and theater geeks! This festival is full of street musicians, performers and artists who come from all over the world to try to make it big.The food during the festival is amazing. Local favorites include the green onion cakes and "elephant ears", a deep fried pastry which you can cover with anything from powdered sugar to chocolate fudge to maple syrup.

Edmonton International Jazz Festival (June)

The Edmonton International Jazz Festival happens throughout 10 days of June every year and it brings top jazz performers from around the world. This jazz festival is well known for bringing upcoming stars and old time favorites rather than focusing on current jazz stars. The reason behind this is that festival officials try to keep prizes reasonable forEdmontonians of all levels of income. For that reason too, there are plenty of free shows, free workshops for jazz students and free admission for music students. The major events happen at the Winspear Theater on the grounds of the University of Alberta and tickets usually go fast!


Even though you're on holidays, please consider volunteering for these festivals. The volunteer perks are so great, that volunteer positions usually fill up pretty fast. Besides an official festival t-shirt, which can very well go over CAN$20 at retail price, volunteers usually get complimentary admission for several shows (even if they're sold out!) and discounts at food vendors.

August 28, 2009 change by damiandavilarojas

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