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Edmonton Folk Music Festival announces full 2024 lineup

Edmonton Folk Fest
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Edmonton Folk Music Festival is increasingly "creating (its) own headliners," says producer Terry Wickham. 

That was his wording Tuesday to describe this summer's lineup, another mix in recent years of bigger and smaller names. 

"Money doesn't talk, it screams. And artists are making so much money now – especially big artists," Wickham commented. 

"So we don't know how long the headliner thing will continue, but I think we can kind of create our own headliners – someone like an Angie McMahon, I think, is really going to set the hill on fire."

The Australian singer-songwriter who put out her debut album in 2019 will take the main stage second last Saturday night. 

Between fan favourite headliners Blue Rodeo, Black Pumas, and Plant and Kraus, so will Orchestra Gold, a psychedelic African rock ensemble; La Misa Negra, an Afro-Latin band; Danielle Ponder, a lawyer turned R&B/soul artist; Canadian folk band Wild Rivers, who first played on the festival's Stage 3; rock's Dawes, who Wickham said he's wanted to book for years; Rhiannon Giddens, who collaborated with Beyoncé on the star's latest album; Zimbabwean group Mokoomba; Ben Howard, the English singer-songwriter and composer; and Fantastic Negrito, whose music is influenced by the blues, R&B, and roots genres. 

The side stages will also host a number of up-and-coming artists, such as Boy Golden, Alberta's Noeline Hofmann and Wyatt C. Louis, Vancouver's The Bankes Brothers and Alpha Yaya Diallo, and Briscoe. The latter was one of few who successfully applied to come to Alberta's capital city. 

Wickham said he jokes Edmonton books artists who are "on the way up" and "on the way down," despite occasionally being able to "punch above weight" like with past acts Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and, more recently, Hozier.

However, the reality, he noted, is that Edmonton's festival is working with a constrained artist budget, which he still considers more generous among Canadian festivals. 

"We had Hozier here in 2019 and then you go: OK, well he sold out (Rogers) Place and even if the tickets are $100 each and some are more, and multiply that by 15,000, so now you're into $1.5 million. So he's going to make at least half that, so that would be challenging for us. We can't do that anymore," he explained. 

"But sometimes we get people when they're really hot and Black Pumas are right now. So it's easier to people to come back than to get them in the first time."

Among the other returning artists are Abigail Lapell, Blanco White, John Craigie, John and Roy, KT Tunstall and the Ruen Brothers.

In total, the festival has 56 artists booked. 

Tickets going on sale Saturday. The full festival lineup is available online

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