The Story

Our Story

The Canmore Folk Music Festival is the longest running folk music festival in Alberta and one of its finest. Adhering to a philosophy and legacy of folk, world, blues and roots music, the festival since 1978 has attracted up to 21,000 music fans annually from across southern Alberta, western Canada, the northwestern USA and indeed the world.

Taking place over three days of the Heritage Day long weekend in August, the festival features 30+ individual acts or performers, family-friendly site, a free downtown concert on festival Friday evening, a kids’ area jammed with crafts, puppets, music, storytelling and a climbing wall. Its venue is the downtown Centennial Park in the heart of Canmore’s valley bottom. Surrounded on all sides by the majestic Rocky Mountains, the backdrop of breathtaking scenery merely enhances the incredible music pouring forth from four stages all weekend long.

The workshop stages partner up eclectic mixings of musicians from disparate and diverse backgrounds, often resulting in that ephemeral “lightning in a bottle” sound that will never be recreated twice.


To put on a festival that is a family-friendly celebration of our diverse cultural heritage through the presentation of traditional and contemporary folk, roots, blues, alt-country, celtic and world music, artisan handicraft booths, ethnic food fair, and a family area in a sustainable manner.

To educate and cultivate an appreciation of folk music and the folk instruments of Canada and other countries through such things as music in schools initiatives, community events and supporting other organizations that do the same.

To support folk artists and organizations that support folk artists through such things as memberships, cross promotion, funding and being active members in the folk festival community.


Creating a community through a shared love of folk music. The Canmore Folk Music Society is dedicated to bringing folk music to the residents and visitors of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, in a relaxed community and family oriented environment.

People Behind it All

Every year more than 550 volunteers come together to make the Canmore Folk Festival the huge success it is – without them, there would be no festival. Collectively they donate more than 7,500 hours of free labour, from pounding nails to pounding keyboards, from selling merchandise to setting up tents and cooking meals. Directing it all is a dedicated team of 35+ coordinators who come together throughout the year to plan the logistics and build their teams.

We Love Our Volunteers

Without you there would be no festival.

Every volunteer has a unique experience on festival weekend with their own “festival family”, and the rewards are both tangible and ephemeral. New friendships are formed, new musical discoveries are made. Among the tangible benefits we offer are free weekend passes for the festival, T-shirts, backstage snacks and access to the exclusive volunteer appreciation parties we throw for you on Sunday and Monday nights after the main stage ends, showcasing a variety of festival performers giving you a private concert.

The Team

Festival Director

Sue Panning

Sue programs the festival line-up, coordinates logistics, manages grants, Music in Schools programming and special events.

General Manager

Ken Pillipow

Ken works closely with the team of staff, volunteers, Board of Directors, and Festival Director in bringing the vision, mission, and values of the festival to life.

Site Manager

Ian Le Maistre

Ian works with the amazing team of volunteers to make the magic happen.

Our Sponsors