Edmonton is very different culturally from the rest of Alberta, tending toward a more cosmopolitan outlook and more liberal attitudes. While rival city Calgary's biggest annual event is a rodeo, Edmonton hosts an array of festivals that have given it the name of "Festival City." Arguably the best folk music festival in Canada is the Edmonton Folk Music Festival shown here. (Rivals in Vancouver and Winnipeg may disagree). With the hill of Gallagher Park forming a natural theatre, and with Edmonton's skyline forming a backdrop, musicians from all over the world perform on a main stage, and in smaller "workshops." Unlike some of the narrower definitions of "folk" music found at other festivals, Edmonton's is all-inclusive. African drummers play alongside Cajun zydeco, Celtic, bluegrass, gospel, country, blues, and of course more traditional singer-songwriter-style folk. In some of the workshops, these diverse styles actually play together! Grab your tickets early -- the Folkfest usually sells out in a few days.

2002 Richard McGuire

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