If it feels like the east side of the Deerfoot is a world away, that might be because until 1961, the neighbourhood of Forest Lawn was its own town. Now it’s home to a vibrant neighbourhood of Calgary called International Avenue, a unique business district with a diverse ethnic composition located on 17th Avenue SE, from 26th to 61st streets.
Branding itself as Calgary’s Culinary and Cultural Capital, International Avenue is worth a visit any time of the year due to its vibrant mix of business representing the cosmopolitan neighbourhoods of the area, but it’s even more of a destination during the upcoming music and culinary festival, the East Town Get Down.
After a two-year Covid hiatus East Town Get Down will be entering its third year, taking place on Saturday, May 28th. It’s a festival which “melds location and performance into an immersive event”, by creating intimate venues that feature unique food and drink. Vietnamese, Filipino, Mexican and Ethiopian restaurants will be setting the stages for a range of performers to suit all musical tastes, and offering $5 tasting menus.
A huge benefit of this style of festival, which creates temporary pop-up venues at restaurants, is that these venues end up as all-ages spaces. “It’s a pretty unique setup”, says Colleen Krueger, the Artistic Producer of East Town Get Down. “All the venues, for the most part, we’re developing them as a venue. They are restaurants day-to-day, so they don’t have the age restrictions, and we’re able to carry that over to our event.”
In past years this has also resulted in having younger performers getting new opportunities. “In 2018 we had a lot of all ages acts that performed, and a few in 2019 … We hope to get to know a lot of the younger emerging acts!” says Krueger.
These all-ages spaces also create a wonderful opportunity for families and young people to enjoy music experiences that might not normally be accessible. “They can see something that inspires them, that maybe they can’t say any other day…bands are normally playing non-all ages settings. It’s a cool experience if people want to bring their kids down and expose them to some indie music!” Krueger adds.
East Town Get Down will be happening on May 28th, with around 40 artists playing at 9 venues on International Avenue. Visit East Town Get Down’s website for more information and to purchase tickets.