Boom. Boom. Boom. The rhythmic beat of the drum underscores the musician’s soulful voice. He’s playing. He’s singing. He’s dancing. I feel his energy igniting us as we dance. The cool evening breeze on our backs is a welcome reprieve from the heat of the crowd.
We’re in full swing at the Banff Summer Arts Festival. My favourite event – Performance in the Park – is a two-day show that welcomes locals and visitors from around the world to the ultimate concert venue, with the dramatic Canadian Rocky Mountains as a backdrop.
Banff Centre Summer Tradition
I’ve volunteered at Canada’s longest running arts festival for many years. Presented by the Banff Centre, this festival is a true celebration of all art forms. Dance, opera, visual arts, music, film and literary readings are all represented. Many of the artists are former students of the Centre’s training programs. The transformation from pupil to performer is amazing.
Free Summer Arts Festival Events
In addition to ticketed shows, there are dozens of free events throughout the summer including the Serenade at St. George weeknight concert series. St. George, a designated historical site, was the town of Banff’s first church when it opened in 1889. With its vaulted gothic-revival ceiling the church provides a magical venue for chamber music.
Throughout May and June the Canadian Rockies are even a little cooler with Banff Jazz. Over the course of three weeks, rising stars jam with household names. In addition to paid concerts there are the free Jazz Talks, Jazz Club and Late Night Jazz events.
Another great event is the festival’s celebration of National Aboriginal Day in June. Throughout the years, I’ve seen indigenous dance and music, fine arts, theatre and comedic performances. This special tribute to aboriginal culture is free to the public and it’s an event my family always enjoys.
Heart Warming Performances
The Music for a Summer Evening series is another perennial favourite that showcases the best young classical musicians from around the world. Solo, quartet and symphony performances featuring piano and strings promise tears of happiness and joy. Come back at the end of August for the Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Check out the full line-up of performances, including artist bios and events calendar online at the Banff Centre.