Edmonton summer concert series takes to racetrack and streets

Live music is making a return to Edmonton this summer as a pair of music festivals — one old, one new — promise to let the band play.

Two festivals announced plans Tuesday for outdoor summer concerts

Edmonton Folk Festival organizers are taking the event from the hills of Gallagher Park to the streets this summer for a series of neighbourhood concerts. (Edmonton Folk Music Festival)

Live music is making a return to Edmonton this summer as a pair of music festivals — one old, one new — promise to let the band play.

North Edmonton's only racetrack is set to transform into a dedicated home for physically-distanced concerts this summer, under plans announced Tuesday by a local event company. The same morning, Edmonton Folk Festival organizers announced plans to move the festival from Gallagher Park to the streets. 

Taking it to the Streets, a new concert series from the producers of Folk Fest, will see more than 40 street concerts performed across the city this July and August, organizers said.

The series will launch on July 16 with concerts taking place each weekend at various yet-to-be selected locations.  By then, most COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be lifted in Alberta. 

"We're looking forward to it, taking to the streets," festival producer Terry Wickham said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Tuesday

"I think it will be very exciting for people." 

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival was cancelled in April for a second straight summer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The new concert series, Wickham said, will allow Edmontonians to enjoy the sounds of the festival from the comfort of their own front yards.

Residents of the city and its bedroom communities are encouraged to partner with their neighbours and apply to host the street concerts in residential areas. 

"We're looking for hosts that will organizer that street and, you know, knock on the doors ... and if everybody agrees, great." 

Artist fees and production costs will be covered by the festival, Wickham, said. Forms can be found at www.edmontonfolkfest.org. Application are open until June 30.

Wickham said organizers plan to stage 12 concerts each weekend with travelling shows on the back of two flatbed trucks. 

"We'll have drivers and techs and delay speakers and all that kind of stuff. We're known for good sound so we'll make sure it's good sound all along the street." 

Wickham said the final planning of the event will depend on how quickly restrictions are lifted on live performances and large outdoor gatherings.

"AHS guidelines may change," he said. "The plan, at this point, is to have people out on their lawns but depending on what happens in the next month or so, maybe we'll have people out on the street."

Wickham said some musicians including Kat Danser and Joe Nolan have already confirmed. 

"It's going to be more acoustic-flavoured, more folkish, for sure, so we're wondering what the pick up will be but we think that it will be exciting and that people will want this." 

Exhibition lands to host series

The Together Again Outdoor Concert Series was the second notable live music announcement made in Edmonton Tuesday.

The concert series is set to take place in August at the infield racetrack on the Edmonton Exhibition Lands.

The concert series, produced by Edmonton-based production company Trixstar, is being billed as Canada's first dedicated physically-distanced concert venue. 

"Together Again will mark the first major outdoor concert series emerging out of the pandemic in Canada," reads a statement from the organizers issued Tuesday.

The concert will have limited capacity to ensure distancing, and fans who attend will be seated at reserved tables with dedicated seating and on-demand food and drink service. 

Organizers said contact tracing and mandatory masking will also be enforced.

The series kicks off on August 6th featuring performances from Five Alarm Funk, The Jerry Cans, DJ Shub, Shawnee Kish and Halycon Gray.

Tickets go on sale as reserved tables of 2, 4 or 6 starting Friday June 11, 2021 at 10 a.m. at TogetherAgainYEG.ca


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