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OK folk, your festival is almost here, and there’s nothing sweeter than hearing it for free. Your chance to win 2 all-day tickets for Saturday July 28th is right here. If you’ve already forked over for 2012 and want a chance at a super VIP package for 2013, look for the East Village ambassadors at the EV tent on site at the festival. They’ll make it easy for you to enter.
The Calgary Folk Fest is celebrating its 33rd year from July 26-29, and has become as emblematic of Calgary as deep-fried pickle chips, avant-garde theatre and cool mayors. The lineup this year is deep and delicious: among much, much else, Dan Mangan, Iron & Wine, Chris Issak, Shakura S’Aida, Serena Ryder and the Beauties, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Randy Newman, a smattering of world music geniuses and Walking Woody’s Road, a theatrical celebration of the centenary of Woody Guthrie.
In 2011, the CFMF won the Greener Festival Award from the UK Festivals Conference and Awards in London in 2011 – the only Canadian event awarded this honour – but it isn’t resting on its innovative laurels. This year, the fest is introducing its first-ever comedy venue, The Apache Talk Tent.
What’s so funny about the folk fest? More than meets the eye. Yes, the festival has run smoothly all these years without a stand-up stage, but some within folk fest HQ have been harbouring comedic leanings for some time. “I'm a comedy nerd of the highest order,” admits Johanna Schwartz, CFMF Marketing and Communications wit.
Schwartz says that the impetus to create the comedy tent this year came from the Walking Woody’s Road Show. “It’s a storytelling program that really begs for an intimate space, so we were able to accommodate comedians into the schedule as well,” she says, and smiles. “I’ve been pestering (Artistic Director) Kerry Clarke to develop some comedy programming for a few years now.”
The Apache Talk Tent, as it’s called, runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm during the festival. Tent seams will split with laughter, courtesy of the likes of Kevin McDonald, Derek Seguin and Chris Fairbanks, and the jesting duos Am I Right? and Atomic Improv. But the Talk Tent isn’t all giggles – expect to hear some harrowing tales of life on the road when concert promoter Richard Flohil interviews festival performers like Shad, The Barr Brothers, Tom Wilson and Shakura S’Aida. And stick around for the raison d‘être of the tent, Walking Woody's Roads, a celebration of the 100th birthday of legendary American folk singer Woody Guthrie.
By then your splitting sides will have healed – just in time to do some tarp dancing at Main Stage.