It can be done, it has been done and it will be done again.
While offering a variety of challenges — both logistically and artistically — the idea of a in-person festival moving to an entirely online format has proven to offer something of a lifeline to those organizations who rely on the annual cash-influx as well as just the profile that it offers.
And now cancellations are becoming exercises in ingenuity, as the adapt or die motto moves forward.
Take a look at the Calgary Underground Film Festival’s recent streaming event — complete with Q&As, DJ sets and a handful of drive-in screenings — which was, by all accounts, incredibly successful with the feedback overly positive.
Sled Island joined in the online fun with their Lemonade Stand, which ran concurrently with CUFF and included some collaborations with the film fest as well as offering virtual sets by some of the artists who were to perform at the scrapped Sled 2020 proper.
Now, the Calgary Folk Music Festival is set to join the fray, with a virtual event planned for the weekend of what should have been their pilgrimage to their home on Prince’s Island July 23 to July 26.
With lessons learned from their Virtually Live series that just wrapped, folk fest organizers have now unveiled their plans for CFMF At Home, which will feature performances from some acts and artists originally scheduled for the end of July event, others filling in to help create another superbly curated lineup, natch.
Some of the acts who will be participating “live from their homes and studios for a magical, grassroots experiential global gathering” include: American indie folk-pop artist Lucy Dacus; Alberta’s own cowpunk Corb Lund; Our Native Daughters’ Amythyst Kiah, who will bring her neo-country to the stream; wonderful Montreal musical weirdo Patrick Watson; William Prince, the soul-filled vocalist from the ’Peg; Edmonton’s ahead-of-their-time alt country pioneers Jr. Gone Wild; Mexican electro-folk act Mexican Institute of Sound; “secular gospel” duo and folk fest faves Birds of Chicago; and Calgary’s own moody smoke show Copperhead.
Online performances will also be supplemented by “memorable archival footage and interviews” broadcast on local radio stations CKUA and CJSW.
And, yes, there will also be some in-person elements encouraged, with small “outdoor acoustic performances in backyards and neighbourhoods as friends and families gather” — the folk fest making available backyard festival baskets for purchase featuring products from some of their sponsors including Big Rock, Spolumbo’s and Rosso Coffee.
All should help keep the spirit of the folk festival alive while we bide our time until we can get together and do it up properly.
The full lineup for CFMF At Home as well as schedules and pay-what-you-can tickets can be found at calgaryfolkfest.com.