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Festival City Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Festive Fun

Primetime for Edmonton Festivals as Summer Arrives

EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/05/13 -- Find yourself in a land where festivals reign and fabulous times are just the beginning, as Edmonton's summer festival season kicks into high gear. Romance, comedy and more await as Edmonton's festival scene gives Shakespeare the royal treatment, Broadway music reaches new heights in an outdoor spectacular and excitement and adventure are in the air as 007 gets more than he bargained for as one of the city's signature festivals gets shaken, not stirred. Home to more than 30 major festivals year round, Edmonton is Canada's Festival City. Summer is primetime for Edmonton's festivals with the months of June, July and August packed with a multitude of options for festival lovers. Here are just a few examples of what you'll find:

- The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is the biggest in North America. International performers and composers have ranked it as one of the top three in the world;

- The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is North America's largest live theatre event, attracting 500,000 visitors to more than 1,000 live theatre experiences;

- The Heritage Festival is Canada's longest-established multicultural celebration, and

- The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival is Canada's oldest celebration of street theatre.

Rated 'F' for Freewill, Folk & Fun

Contemporary, innovative productions of the works of William Shakespeare are what drives the Freewill Shakespeare Festival. Celebrating its 25th anniversary with performances of King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream (June 25 to July 21), this festival takes place at the Heritage Amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park - the largest outdoor venue of its kind in Western Canada. "Every July, the Freewill Players produce two Shakespeare plays in a repertory situation under the canopy of the Hawrelak Park Heritage Amphitheatre where Mother Nature is our principle ambiance director, providing stunning sunsets as a backdrop to our productions," says Marianne Copithorne, the Freewill Shakespeare Festival's artistic director. "In 1989, the festival was founded by a group of young University of Alberta Fine Arts graduates on a budget of about $1,000. Twenty-five years later, we're a professional not-for-profit theatre company and have drawn over 220,000 audience members."

Feist, Loreena McKennitt and The Avett Brothers, meanwhile, are just some of the big names who will headline what is expected to be another sell-out year for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Held at Gallagher Park (August 8-11), overlooking downtown Edmonton in the city's renowned River Valley - the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America; 21.7 times larger than New York City's Central Park - this four-day extravaganza of folk music and workshops will also see Bruce Cockburn and Martin Sexton among the vast array of musicians to hit its stages. "The Folk Festival is like a fine instrument. You're just fine tuning it every year," says Edmonton Folk Music Festival Producer Terry Wickham. "We always put the music first and we spend a lot on that. Our main role is really to do what we do as best we can.

Bond, Blues & Broadway

The name is Fringe, as in the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. Subtitled 'From Fringe With Love' for the 2013 edition (August 15-25), the festival will infiltrate venues throughout Edmonton's historic Old Strathcona, a district that does double duty as a not-to-be missed shopping, dining and entertainment destination. This signature Edmonton festival is an essential journey for the theatre lover, and for James Bond fans, it will be a unique way to celebrate 50 years of Bond on screen.

Then get ready for a full dose of the Blues, under blue skies, as the Edmonton Blues Festival (August 16-18) unveils its 2013 edition at the Heritage Amphitheatre. Blues legend James Cotton and performers from Russia, the U.K., Holland, and North America will converge on this River Valley site as this festival pulls out all the stops for its 15th anniversary version. Later in August, it's all about Broadway, Motown and the classics, including the works of Mozart and Tchaikovsky, as they get the star treatment at Symphony Under The Sky, an outdoor musical performance of five varied concerts over the 2013 Labour Day weekend (August 30-September 2). Once again the Heritage Amphitheatre is the site, this time for music under the stars with the renowned Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

More to Experience

Brimming and bursting with fun, sun and an unrivalled variety of entertainment, Edmonton has so much more to entice travelers seeking festive times and festive options. A sampling of other tempting offerings includes:

- Opera Nuova Vocal Arts Festival: Canada's largest opera festival; ongoing through June 29;

- Next Generation Arts Festival (Nextfest): A showcase of emerging artists; June 6-16;

- The Works Art & Design Festival: North America's largest free outdoor art and design festival; June 20-July 2;

- The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival: Ten days of international street artists; July 5-14.

- Interstellar Rodeo: A celebration of music, wine and food; July 26-28;

- Servus Heritage Festival: A multicultural showcase with pavilions representing cultures from all over the world. The single, largest celebration of cultural diversity in the world in one physical location; August 3-5

- Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival: More than 60 Dragon Boat teams racing against each other; August 16-18.

Visit Edmonton, Canada's festival destination and you'll discover just how easy it is to say 'Yes to the Fest'.

Edmonton Tourism promotes Greater Edmonton as the destination of choice for tourism, conventions, major events and film production and is a division of Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC). Edmonton Tourism encourages socially and environmentally responsible tourism. For more information, visit www.edmonton.com Learn more about Edmonton through the stories of people who've experienced it at www.edmontonstories.ca

Contacts:
Edmonton Economic Development Corporation
Renée Williams
Travel Media Relations Manager, Edmonton Tourism
780.932.4865
[email protected]

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