Time to stop and smell the Lilacs

Forget the clichés the Lilac Festival really does have something for everyone

After a winter that seemed like it was going to hang on forever spring is in the air. Time to throw open the windows dig out the Frisbees and dance barefoot through green green grass. It’s also time for Calgary’s perennial Lilac Festival now entering its 19th year.

This year will mark a transition for the fest. The Fourth St. festival site will be a block shorter due to the renovations of Memorial Park paving the way for next year’s 20th anniversary milestone. “We’re really involved with the park renovation from the beginning” says Jennifer Rempel who has worked with the festival for the last 18 years. “The way that the park has been renovated because we’ve been involved is as a festival park. It [will have] permanent vendor spots with power and water and Internet in each one. It will be a perfect festival space and we’re very excited to be able to use it next year. If we have to not use it for one year it’s OK because for the future of the festival it will be fantastic.”

Even in its mildly truncated form the Lilac Festival will offer something for all Calgarians to enjoy whether you want to shop catch some tunes or just hoist a few malt beverages — or better yet all of the above. Music of all genres and flavours is still a big component with favourites like Aktivate and Mocking Shadows performing alongside new buds like Magnolia Buckskin and an increasing number of acts from all across Western Canada.

Edmonton synth-rockers Screwtape Lewis have become hooked. They’re making their third Lilac Festival appearance showcasing a new lineup and a new record. For front man Randl Lewis-Bailer the festival’s appeal is obvious. “This winter was like two winters rolled into one” he says. “Once the weather gets nice you just want to climb into a van and head out on an adventure. Outdoor shows for bands are like gold. I mean who doesn’t want to sit outside and drink a cold alcoholic beverage and listen to some music?”