By Kevin Maimann, Edmonton Sun
Folk fest producer Terry Wickham tried for 24 years to snag nine-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt, who will finally headline this year’s Edmonton Folk Music Festival set for Aug. 9 to 12 at Gallagher Park.
“At some point you’re almost ready to give up, and you just keep knocking and the door opens,” Wickham said during Wednesday’s lineup announcement.
The festival is sticking close to its roots this year, bringing plenty of folk, Celtic, blues and country artists and a number of familiar faces.
“It’s traditional in that it’s kind of what we always do,” Wickham said.
“People will get what they expect.”
Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, hip-hop trailblazers Arrested Development, homegrown country singer Corb Lund, and reunited ’80s stars The Parachute Club are some of the other notables set to rock this year’s festival.
Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 9 a.m. at the festival ticket office, 10115 97A Ave., and at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster.
“We’re up against Justin Bieber. Last I heard he’s actually quite worried,” Wickham quipped.
Last year’s festival sold out in two hours, crashing the folk fest office phone lines and resulting in 1,000 extra festival passes being sold. This year, the fest will return to its 2010 numbers, selling 11,000 weekend passes for $159 apiece and 1,000 one-day tickets per day at $65.
“We didn’t have any problems with the extra crowd, no one got hurt. We just felt a little bit crowded,” Wickham said, adding he is not taking a sellout for granted.
“You have to like an arts organization that’s giving up $150,000 in revenue.”
Stages 1, 3 and 6 will be eight feet wider this year as the festival has purchased new stages to better accommodate large bands and workshop performances.
Wickham welcomed the friendly new competition from like-minded Interstellar Rodeo festival, which runs July 27 and 29 at the Heritage Ampitheatre in Hawrelak Park and will feature Randy Newman, Blue Rodeo and Gillian Welch.
“It feels like an offshoot of the folk festival. And if we’re selling out, that’s great. If we’re not, they’ll hear from us,” Wickham joked.
“There can never be too much good music in town and too many festivals.”
Wickham said fans should line up between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. to snag tickets in person at the folk fest office. Fifty per cent of the tickets will be saved for Ticketmaster.
For more information and the full lineup, visit edmontonfolkfest.org.
For a complete list of performers, click here.