Calgary International Blues Festival (Monday, July 28 to Sunday, Aug. 3)
The start of the festival is easy on the wallet: the events Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are all free. First up is a volunteer appreciation bash on Monday (it’s open to the public) featuring the Tony Kaye Trio. Then, there’s a blues guitar workshop with Ray Montana for all ages and skill levels on Tuesday. There are two events Wednesday: a noon-hour blues concert with John Rutherford at the Pro-Arts Society’s regular free concert series at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer and Eddy Nights in the evening when Rutherford and Tim Williams sit down at the National Music Centre.to swap stories about the legendary (and currently dismantled) King Eddy. The gravy train stops with the opening of the mainstage on Thursday with Ana Popovic as the headliner, but you can still grab a four-day pass or a Thursday pass online for $129 or $30, respectively.
Made With Love at Jack Singer Concert Hall, Epcor Centre (Monday, July 28)
The largest mixology competition in Canada runs on a Monday night, which makes sense, I guess, when you realize it’s about the only night bartenders can take off work. The Calgary edition features drink slingers from Charcut, Libertine, Milk Tiger, Raw Bar, Ox and Angela, Model Milk and more. A $65 ticket (available online) includes a tasting of the competing cocktails, food pairings and the right to vote for a winner.
Pop-Up Picnic at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens, Courtyard Park
Downtown Calgary helps you get over hump day with a pop-up picnic every second Wednesday. This week’s theme is “Ladies Day Picnic” and those wearing fascinators are most welcome. You’re on your own as to where to find one, but when you do, you’ll be rewarded with hair and makeup touch-ups, skin and eyebrow consultations, express massages, candy buffet and games like ring toss and Jenga. Find out more at calgarydowntown.com.
The Alphabetic Order of Things at Emmedia Parking Lot (Opening Thursday, July 31)
Starting this Thursday, Emmedia will be taking advantage of its real estate to screen some video art from Vtape, an artist-run, not-for-profit collector of video art from the 1970s to present. The Emmedia parking lot and building make for a great outdoor theatre—once it gets dark. The show starts at 9 p.m.
The Common Ground Festival at Motel, Epcor Centre (Ongoing until Saturday, Aug. 2)
It’s a bit of a reprieve from the summer theatre desert. This festival of emerging artists has been running since July 22, while the Calgary Fringe Festival kicks off on Friday. Common Ground’s festival features a nightly blend of dance, music, comedy and theatre artists. See the list of artists, here, and the schedule, here. —Jon Roe