The 13 Best Alberta Music Festivals 2024

Best Alberta Music Festivals 2024
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Summer music festivals are upon us, and if you're looking to get out with your friends and watch some live music, you're in the right place. Alberta is home to a number of festivals catering to all tastes and genres, so you're sure to find something you love, from the twang of country to big electronic beats.

Rocking out in the land of the Rockies sound good to you? Get your festival outfit planned as Ask Genie counts down the 10 best Alberta music festivals for 2024.

Want to see what Toronto has in store for festival season? Check our guide to the 8 Best Toronto Music Festivals.

1. Big Valley Jamboree

With acres of open land transformed into a country music heaven, this festival experience really lives up to its 'big' name. The Big Valley Jamboree is like the Coachella of Country Music. A diverse mix of stages hosts massive acts and up-and-coming talent, where you can line dance 'til your heart's content and sing your heart out to classics sung by country royalty.

Big Valley Jamboree is more than a festival; it's a pilgrimage for country music fans, as people from all over the world descend on this Albert music festival. It's not just the great music; mouthwatering food trucks serve excellent dining options, and you immerse yourself in country and Western culture, surrounded by thousands of like-minded festival-goers and music fanatics.

You'll surely leave Big Valley Jamboree with your cowboy boots dirty, your voice hoarse, and your heart full.

2. Neon Jungle Festival

Next up on our magical musical tour of Alberta is the Neon Jungle Festival, where EDM beats drop harder than your bank account balance after buying too many festival tickets.

Neon Jungle certainly lives up to its name. Its stunning backdrop of trees illuminated by bright lights creates the perfect setting for electronic dance music. It's as if your wildest clubbing fantasies came to life in the middle of the wilderness.

You'll find yourself lost in a crowd of glowing faces, all moving in unison to the beat of the bass. Forget about your job and responsibilities; your only concern at Neon Jungle is which stage to head to for the next DJ set. So, slap on some neon paint, and let's get ready to turn the forest into a rave.

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3. Sled Island

At Sled Island festival, indie music takes centre stage. This week-long music and arts festival is bursting at the seams with an eclectic mix of performances.

Another benefit is that the festival is spread across multiple venues in Calgary, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore the city. From sweaty dive bars to grand theatres, your musical journey will have you zig-zagging across town with a list of new favourite bands and drinking spots.

The lineup is as diverse as the venues, featuring music that stretches from experimental to punk to folk and everything in between.

Sled Island hosts acts that you look back on in years to come and say, "I saw them before they were big," a statement that carries massive social currency.

So, prepare to brag about discovering your new favourite artist in the most unexpected places. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so pace your enthusiasm and (caffeine intake) accordingly.

4. Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede isn't just a music festival; it's a cowboy hat-topped, deep-fried extravaganza that's not to be missed.

The Stampede is a city-wide party where the streets are filled with the smell of barbecue and the sound of country music ricochets off the surrounding buildings, creating an authentic carnival atmosphere.

The Stampede is brimming with culture and has plenty for everyone to enjoy, like rodeos and freestyle motocross displays.

But let's not forget the music. From country legends to rock icons, the stages here have been graced by some of the biggest names in the biz.

Calgary Stampede is a ten-day whirlwind of concerts, cowboy boots, and crazy food choices (anyone for a bacon-wrapped deep-fried Oreo?). So, slap on your finest plaid and prepare to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Alberta's cowboy culture.

5. Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Get ready to wear your most comfortable sandals and embrace your inner folk enthusiast at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Here, you'll find the most harmonious blend of banjos, harmonicas, and soulful vocals that could bring a tear to the eye of even a hardened roadie.

Nestled in the picturesque Gallagher Park, this festival feels like a giant family picnic. If your family is made up of thousands of folk music aficionados, that is. As one of Canada's leading folk festivals, you can expect diverse artists, from Grammy winners to undiscovered gems; the lineup is as eclectic as the audience's patchwork of picnic blankets.

This festival is a gentle reminder that sometimes, all you need for a good time is a simple melody and a sunset.

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6. Calgary International Reggae Festival

Step into the Calgary International Reggae Festival, where the vibes are as chill as a Canadian winter. This festival is like a sunny vacation for your ears, transporting you straight to the Caribbean without the cost of plane tickets.

Picture yourself swaying to the rhythms of reggae; it's a place where the air is infused with the scent of jerk chicken, and the only ice you'll encounter is in your tropical drink.

Here, "irie" is the word of the day, every day, and you're encouraged to leave your worries at the door, so grab your most colourful outfit and prepare to ride the reggae wave.

7. Chasing Summer

Dive headfirst into Chasing Summer, the ultimate homage to those who refuse to acknowledge the end of warm weather. It's as if the sun decided to throw a farewell party and invited all the hottest EDM acts to crank up the heat.

This festival is like summer camp for adults, if summer camp involves big beats and light shows instead of campfires and ghost stories. Here, the crowd's passion for dance music is the only thing more intense than the sunshine.

You'll find yourself in a sea of sun-kissed faces, all united by a love for beats that make your heart race faster than a squirrel after an espresso shot. So, slap on that sunscreen and hydrate like your dance moves depend on it because Chasing Summer is where the party heats up as the temperature cools.

8. Symphony Under the Sky

Now, if your idea of a wild night involves more maestros than mosh pits, Symphony Under the Sky could be your jam. 

Set against the backdrop of Alberta's breathtaking scenery, this festival is where Beethoven and Bach meet Mother Nature. It's the perfect blend of high culture and the great outdoors. So, trade in those earplugs for some opera glasses and get ready to class up your festival experience.

9. Shambhala Music Festival

Buckle up for a trip to the Shambhala Music Festival, where the rule of thumb is, if it's bizarre and beats-heavy, it belongs. Nestled in a not-so-faraway land where the only currency is good vibes and glow sticks, Shambhala is the promised land for those who take their music with a side of mystical adventure.

Escape your 9-5 and responsibilities to this electronic euphoria, where the dress code includes glitter and costumes. Be prepared to go bright or go home, and prepare your body for nonstop dancing and your soul for a kaleidoscope of sound at Shambhala.

10. Edmonton Blues Festival

If the soulful wails of guitars and husky vocals are more your thing, check out Edmonton Blues Festival, where the music and chilled atmosphere make you feel like you're in a bar in the Deep South.

Edmonton is the place to be for any blues enthusiast. Festival season brings the city to life, so let yourself be transported away to a place that'll have you singing the blues in the best way possible.

11. Shady Grove Bluegrass Festival

Alright, you string-plucking aficionados, pull up a hay bale and lend an ear to the Shady Grove Bluegrass Festival. Somewhat of a hidden gem in the Alberta festival scene, Shady Grove is like stepping into a sepia-toned photograph where the banjos play on a loop, and the harmonies are thicker than the summer's air.

The biggest decision you'll have to make is whether to join in the foot-stompin' or nod along from the sidelines. Shady Grove is where bluegrass isn't just a genre; it's a way of life.

At Shady Grove, every pluck, pick, and strum tells a story, inviting you into a musical hug as warm as the setting sun. 

So, dust off that old flannel, practice your 'yeehaw,' and prepare to immerse yourself in the acoustic bliss of the Shady Grove Bluegrass Festival. It's an unfettered celebration of all things bluegrass, proving once and for all that soul-stirring music knows no bounds.

12. Calgary Folk Music Festival

Set against the urban backdrop of Prince's Island Park, this festival is where folk music meets the city. The vibe is so laid-back here that you might find yourself lying on the grass, contemplating whether to join a drum circle or chill and let the myriad of sounds wash over you.

It's a gathering that proves folk music isn't just for the oldies. It's a vibrant, living thing that captivates even the most skeptical festival-goers. Leave your jacket of pessimism in the cloakroom of cares, grab a drink and immerse yourself in the relaxing sounds of folk music.

13. North Country Fair

Prepare to ditch your worries and embrace the fever dream that is the North Country Fair.

Tucked away in a spot where you're more likely to have a heart-to-heart with a deer than get a decent WiFi signal, this festival is the ultimate retreat into music, art, and nature.

At the North Country Fair, you can shake your cares loose and partake in drum circles, impromptu jam sessions, and workshops that range from enlightening to eccentric. Whether you're grooving to the beats of an indie band as the sun sets or finding inner peace in a yoga class at dawn, the North Country Fair promises an escape from the mundane.

This is truly a festival where memories are made, friendships are forged, and the spirit of Alberta's music scene is celebrated in all its glory. So, pack your most colourful outfits and get ready to redefine your festival expectations.

Make the Most of Festival Season with Help from Spin Genie

So, there you have it, our list of 13 can’t-miss festivals taking place in Alberta this year. 

Who knows, maybe you could be experiencing EDM beats at Neon Jungle or the laid-back vibes of Calgary Folk Festival. 

If you’re busy making your plans for the rest of 2024, let Ask Genie help. Our blog is full of guides to help you make the most of your downtime, whether you want to experience the best restaurants in Montreal or know the best places to see wildlife in Canada.

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