The Calgary Folk Music Festival (CFMF) is certainly something to behold. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a couple of the neighboring city’s festivals and I’d like to say that not many hold a candle to ours. The CFMF line-up always expands musical minds and libraries; the food, the folks, the island and the beer, never disappoint.
It takes a lot to put on CFMF, it’s not all peace, love and group hugs. This small not-for-profit relies on the dedication of roughly 2000 volunteers to contribute their blood, sweat and folkie souls to getting the gig up and running smoothly. Despite the often-inevitable rain or the uncomfortably gross (but welcome) Alberta heat, the CFMF staff and their super keen volunteers buck-up and smile; their shifts lasting sometimes from sun-up to well into the eve, just so we can hear some tunes in a park.
But after midnight, the spectacle really begins. Unbeknownst to most, CFMF throws probably some of the best after parties around during the course of the Festival, specifically for their volunteers. They don’t start until the show’s over and they don’t end until the sun’s about to come up. There’s always plenty of food, delicious brews at a reasonable price and of course live music. Live music supplied by high profile bands that may have just played the festival that day. CFMF doesn’t just hire some crappy cover band with perms and really tight acid wash jeans to perform “Jessie’s Girl“, they provide an after party line-up that would kick that band’s ass. Appreciation like this is rare friends, rare.
Not to mention there’s even hob-knobbing with the artists who’ve played during festival, suddenly you’re hanging out with people who’ve been to the Grammy’s not as streakers or contest winners, but for real! This year Festival acts like Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three , Joy Kills Sorrow and Chatham County Line were just milling about in the crowd.
I know what you may be thinking: Do these Folkie volunteers know how to get down? Are you imagining a lot of swaying and hand holding right now? The answer is YES. They may seem gentle spirits by day, but these hippie-weirdos get their funk on once when the lights go out. Whoa! comes to mind.
Although the Festival may have come and gone this year, and I may not be able to tell you exactly where these parties are held, I can tell you that they trump any volunteer party you’ve ever been to, maybe even any after party you’ve ever been to. Which means you probably need to start sucking up to CFMF to get on the list for next year. But be forewarned, if you’re lucky enough to get involved, then you better be able to keep up, because this crew works really hard to party harder.