Serena Ryder kicks off expanded, eclectic Summer Events schedule at Banff Centre

Most Calgarians want to head to the mountains in the summer for a little respite, to get away from hectic city life, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

This year Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity wants you to head out for what should be a pretty hectic and noisy season in its own right.

They’ve just announced plans for their 85th Summer Events, expanding their programming to 125 events, with 94 of them being free, and bringing in some big names as well as hosting some pretty amazing entertainment opportunities.

“The Banff Centre Summer Events series is always a major highlight of the year,” Allison Brock, director of presenting arts at  Banff Centre, said in a release.

“To be able to present the very best in dance, music, and opera in such glorious surroundings and to such wonderful and receptive audiences is an experience unparalleled. The Summer Events series also serves as a testament to the calibre of artists and the quality of work created at Banff Centre and I find myself filled with gratitude to be a part of it year after year.”

Kicking all of it off is a concert by Juno-winning artist Serena Ryder in the Eric Harvie Theatre on June 14.

That opens the door to an impressive collection of musical acts who will be performing outside at the Banff Centre’s Shaw Amphitheatre, including: Australian artist Xavier Rudd on June 16; A Canadian Roots Celebration with Deep Dark Woods, Barney Bentall, Good For Grapes and Elk Run & Riot on June 30; perennial faves Blue Rodeo on July 6; celebrated jazz musician Jens Lindemann on July 22; Indigenous dubstep and electro crew A Tribe Called Red on July 29; Sasky retro rockers The Sheepdogs on Aug. 4; west coast rock act Dear Rouge Aug. 11; and world music guitarist Jesse Cook closes things out on Aug. 18.

Music will also be omnipresent throughout the season at various other venues, including near nightly shows at The Club from Aug. 7-25 featuring players from the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creativity, led by co-artistic directors Tyshawn Sorey and Vijay Iyer. There are also 12 new commissioned works and world premieres by masterclass composers, such as George Lewis and Chris Derksen, that will be performed throughout the summer.

If opera is more your thing, there will be several events, including: a reimagined production of Orphée+ — described as “an electronic, baroque burlesque descent into hell” — on July 12 and 14 at the Eric Harvie Theatre; Leonard Bernstein’s Candide on July 15 outdoors at the  Shaw Amphitheatre in celebration of the composer’s 100th birthday; and what’s become a popular event in its previous four year Opera Pub, which takes the music into the Legion where you can enjoy it in a more relaxed setting with a pint or two.

And from the dance side of the ledger, LEV Dance company will be performing OCD Love on June 22 at the Eric Harvie Theatre, and participants in the Creative Gesture Dance Residency will work with choreographer Alan Lucien Øyen to stage The Hamlet Complex July 26-28 in the same venue.

Tickets for all of the events are on sale now from, with the complete schedule of Summer Events also available on Banff Centre’s website.