Rebranding the Canmore Folk Music Festival

Saturday, April 2, 2016

CFMF_logos_h_colorThe board of directors for the Canmore Folk Music Festival were seeking rebranding partners for the 2016 festival year and Switchback Creative jumped at the chance to be a part of it. The board knew they were ready for a new evolution of the festival brand, while still maintaining the personality and uniqueness that had made it legendary for the past 39 years.

Year after year, people had come from all over to experience the family friendly and intimate festival in the heart of the stunning Town of Canmore. But now was the time to bring into the fold the next generation of music lovers … a new group of people that would cherish and continue on the traditions of Canmore Folk Fest.

When Switchback Creative was approached to pitch on the Folk Music Festival rebranding and marketing partnership, they wanted to first understand the full purpose of the rebranding. They knew that with this understanding, they could then use their experience with small towns and entrepreneurs and apply these winning ideas to the festival.

What an amazing experience working with switchback creative to update the look and feel of the website. Trevor and Suzy were both so engaged at trying to capture a piece of the festival with the logo and site. – Ken Pillipow, General Manager

It was all about bringing the unique atmosphere and environment to new and long-time fans. Through the power of the scenery, mixed with the tone of the folk music, each August long weekend Canmore is filled with both magic and whimsy. It is this unique experience of newly discovered music with a beautiful mountain backdrop that sets it apart from other festival experiences.

Canmore Folk Music Festival encompasses an event that is family friendly, safe, intimate and showcases awe-inspiring new talents. This festival is a destination for folk music fans, far and wide. It was agreed that the theme for this new branding would be about magic of the music, whimsy and the scenery.

Logo Development

The logo needed to project longevity, simple beauty and the essence of the festival. And, since the two most defining characteristics of the festival are music and mountains, the choice was made.

The logo was exciting because there was so much you could say. In the end, the beauty and simplicity of the direction was elegant and timeless – two great characteristics for logos that stand the test of time.  – Suzy Rounce, Switchback Creative

Vibrant colours were built into the logo so that it could have that playful, summertime vibe that is at the heart of creating the festival’s magic atmosphere. We wanted to present the mood of long, lazy summer days with great sunsets and amazing adventures. As a throwback to the origins of the festival and folk music, we included a retro van hiding amongst the materials as a playful touch.


Website development

canmore-webspreadsAbove all else, the functionality of the website was the most crucial. Of course it is also the most visible channel for viewing the new branding efforts. But more important than that, the website needed to be easy to navigate for the fans, volunteers and sponsors. It needed to show all that was offered at the festival, in easy to digest chunks, and be straight forward for the festival team to update as news and lineups are announced. This primary hub for the festival will be a critical channel for interacting with fans and all those who want to get involved.

 The challenge for this website was to bring everything together in a modern, unique way. In the end we think the results stand above the rest and really match the brand. Ease-of-use and simple grab and go content accomplished the challenge we started with.  – Trevor Rounce, Switchback Creative


Other marketing materials and strategies

The festival is very unique in it’s location and vibe. So, the rebranding team wanted to make sure everything felt cohesive and like it belonged as a family. From newsletter templates, to T-shirt designs, to business cards and posters, the Canmore Folk Music Festival is one-of-a-kind. Representing it with pride and personality is the only way to do justice to all those who love the festival so much and for those new fans who will experience it for the first time this August.

Go to for more info and to see the full reveal. And, don’t forget to get your tickets to this year’s festival!


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1 thought on “Rebranding the Canmore Folk Music Festival”

    My initial impression of the rebranding is positive. That said, the Board must be aware that any change must be substantive. When I came to my first CFF I felt that I was among the youngest person in the place. 15 years later I still feel the same. The Board can choose to be true to the festival’s initial roots and follow that path into obscurity or it can truly reinvent itself in ways beyond new graphics and websites. In my view the 2014 festival lineup was moving in the right direction and 2015 lineup represented a step backwards, in terms of relevance to a new generation. Maybe consider picking one day’s line-up that’s “hip” and bring a new vibe to the schedule. Again, in my view, I personally feel excited about music when I’m intoduced to new ways of hearing music especially from someone that’s 25 years younger than me. It’s not surprising to me that someone like Bernie Saunders’ message is relevant to 20 year-olds. Why can’t a 20 year-old’s message be relevant to someone 30 years older? Anyway, I would love the vibe of being around something new and exciting. 20 straight hours of John Prineville just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

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