This July, audiences in Banff, Alberta can plan their Canadian Rockies escape around a packed schedule of indoor and outdoor cultural performances and exhibitions from contemporary dance to indie rock to mainstage opera, film, new media, literary readings, and art installations.

The Banff Summer Arts Festival, the longest running multi-disciplinary arts festival in Canada, appeals to all ages and cultural interests, and providing unparalleled access through dozens of free events. In most cases, the performances you see on stage are the outcome of The Banff Centre’s arts training and creative development programs.

The Shaw Amphitheatre with its spectacular Bow Valley backdrop is the host venue for several exciting outdoor performances this month, including one of Canada’s most beloved bands, Blue Rodeo. Led by Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, the group will celebrate 25 years with yet another memorable concert on July 6, along with 2013 Juno-Award nominee for Reggae Recording of the Year, Makeshift Innocence. Canadian singer-songwriter, Feist, a bona fide worldwide star, grew up playing the punk scene in Calgary; the Grammy-nominated, eight-time Juno Award winner hits the stage with openers, Snowblink, on August 7.

The Festival will also feature headliners from the opera stage, including the spectacular soprano Measha Brueggergosman, bringing new music plus standards from her latest album, I’ve Got a Crush on You, to the Shaw Amphitheatre on July 13. Rising star Philippe Sly, a grand prize winner at the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, will be at the Rolston Recital Hall on July 17, and Canadian-born opera star Ben Heppner, recognized as the finest dramatic tenor in the world today, will be in recital on August 4.

Mikhail Baryshnikov, whose brilliant career in classical ballet included countless principal roles with the Kirov Ballet, the New York City Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre visits Banff for the Heather and N. Murray Edwards Legendary Leaders Series. Baryshnikov will be onstage in conversation with Globe and Mail columnist Ian Brown on July 27. The Literary Journalism Series runs through the month of July, highlighted by conversations between Brown and long-time New Yorker contributor Calvin Trillin on July 10, and winners of the CBC Canada Writes non-fiction award on July 25.

For a full schedule of events in Banff National Park, please visit

Photo of Banff’s Shaw Amphitheatre courtesy of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.
SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles