Crews at work on Gallagher Hill earlier this week setting up for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, which begins Thursday afternoon. ((CBC))

Fans who attend this year's edition of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival will be able to wash up in water heated by the sun.

It's the latest green initiative at the event, which begins Thursday afternoon and concludes Sunday on Gallagher Hill in Edmonton's river valley.

"I will have a water-heating system, solar-powered, right by the public wash tent so ... you can have some free hot water given to you by the sun, right there in front of you," said Don Snider, production manager for the festival.

In past years, patrons have only had access to cold water for washing.

The new system is part of the organizers' commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the popular event and promoting the benefits of renewable energy, Snider said.

"So it's the idea of a practical display, not a lecture, but a practical display that you can see and feel how it works," Snider said.

This year's festival will also continue to offer reusable dishes for all food sold on the site and biodegradable cups in the beer tent.

Large vendors at the site will be ringing up sales with solar-powered cash registers.

This year's performers at the festival, which began in 1980, will include Jakob Dylan, son of folk icon Bob Dylan, indie-rock band Broken Social Scene and festival regular Hawksley Workman.

The festival has been sold out for weeks.