Category: Latest News

Riddim West Kicks off the Summer Music Festival Season

ReggaeFest Goes to University!

Calgary, Alberta – June 4, 2019

This weekend the re-imagined and re-branded Calgary ReggaeFest is set for MacEwan Hall in the heart of the University of Calgary. Riddim West, as the event is now known, will feature giant reggae hitters from Jamaica — Luciano, Cham and Hawkeye — with a supporting cast of exciting Canadian acts including Delhi 2 Dublin, Lynn Olagundoye and Phonosonics.

Riddim West is the culmination of ReggaeFest activities and runs from 3PM – 11PM on Saturday, June 8 at Mac Hall, followed by an after party in The Den featuring Dancehall legend Hawkeye along with Calgary’s own DJ Sherman Hype.

“It’s the same exciting family-friendly festival moved indoors,” says festival producer Leo Cripps. “The difference is that this is a more intimate and controlled setting where the audience can be up close and personal with the performers. By saving on production costs, we are able to redirect funds to bring in bigger names. Cham’s profile includes recordings with Rhianna, Eve and Alicia Keys, while Luciano’s travels have taken him all over including performances with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,” Cripps continues.

Other acts on the show include Calgary’s Jory Kinjo and Edmonton’s Waymatea and the Highlife Sound Collective, which is a supergroup of some of Edmonton’s best reggae and soca acts.

Riddim West will feature kids’ activities, a marketplace, a food truck serving up some tasty Caribbean delights and a beer garden with Village Beer to quench your thirst.

Can’t wait for Saturday to get your dose of Reggae? We’ve got you covered!

The Canadian premier of Babylon is at the Plaza Theatre on Thursday, June 6 where we are delighted to have one of the films financial backers who will talk a bit about the film and introduce it to Calgarians. Admission is $10.

Riddim West launch party takes place on Friday, June 7 at The Den, where you can meet and greet this years performers. Selfies anyone?! Admission is free.

Points to note:

Advance Tickets for Riddim West can be purchased online at or at the pre-events on June 6 & 7.

MacEwan Hall is located in the heart of the University of Calgary campus. Campus is easily accessed by Calgary Transit – bus or LRT (University Station on the Red Line). There are plenty of places to lock up your bicycles and for those that choose to drive there are over 3,000 parking spots within walking distance of the Mac Hall.

Babylon – Film Screening – June 6, 2019

Franco Rosso’s incendiary Babylon had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but went unreleased in the U.S. for “being too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension” (Vivien Goldman, Time Out). Raw and smoldering, it follows a young dancehall DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British reggae group Aswad) in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (The Killing Fields) with beautifully smoky cinematography that has been compared to Taxi Driver, Babylon is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, Dennis Bovell, and more.

Date: Thursday, June 6, 2019

Time: 7:00 pm show start time

Location: Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Road NW

Admission: $10 (Eventbrite and at the door)

Film Rating: TBA, Run Time: 95 minutes
Film Trailer

Riddim West – June 8, 2019

Re-imagined and re-branded — ReggaeFest returns with Riddim West!

After a year off, Calgary ReggaeFest is back on a new date, in a new venue and with a new name.

On June 8, 2019, ReggaeFest presents Riddim West at MacEwan Hall in the heart of the University of Calgary campus.

“The past year was used to assess and re-imagine the festival and determine what direction was best for its longevity,” says producer Leo Cripps. “We reviewed every element that would be beneficial to the event and moved forward to implement the new direction. We promised a different festival and that is what we will be delivering,” Cripps continued.

The festival will run over 3 days (June 6-8), with smaller events June 6 and 7, culminating with Riddim West on Saturday, June 8.

ReggaeFest continues its mission to present the best in local, national and international acts and the 2019 headliners feature Reggae messenger Luciano and dancehall champion Cham (aka Baby Cham) from Jamaica. Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin, Victoria’s Phonosonics, and Calgary’s own Lynn Olagundoye and Jory Kinjo will complete the line up.

The 2019 ReggaeFest After Party will feature Jamaica’s dancehall master Hawkeye with Calgary’s DJ Sherman Hype.

Early bird tickets for Riddim West go on sale March 8 at just $30 for a limited time.

For updates stay tuned to Facebook , Twitter , Instagram, or You can also follow our hashtag #RiddimWest.

Looking for Casino Volunteers

ReggaeFest is looking for Casino volunteers for March 10-11, 2019 at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino.

Sunday March 10
– Evening: Chip Runner x 1
– Count Room: 4 spots

Monday March 11
– Day: Cashier x 1, Chip Runner x 1
– Evening: Chip Runner x 2
– Count Room: 4 spots

Please contact to sign up or for more info.  Thanks for the support!

Survey – Share your thoughts on ReggaeFest!

The Calgary Reggae Festival Society is interested in hearing your thoughts on the future of ReggaeFest.

As part of its reimagining process, ReggaeFest is conducting a quick survey to get the pulse of the community. Please take a few minutes to help the organization with setting some new directions for the festival.  The survey should take upward of 10-12 minutes depending on your answers.

Please be assured that your name will not be attached to your responses

Click here to begin:

ReggaeFest Afternoon Jam – Pop Up Event

Join us for an Afternoon REGGAE Jam

Sunday, June 10, 2018 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Village Brewery Taproom – 5000 – 12A Street SE.

Live Music by local favourites Aktivate, Powerhouse Band and more….

Presented by Calgary Reggae Festival Society and the good folks at Village Brewery.

Family Friendly. 12 and under admitted FREE

$20 Admission includes one free Beer and a Burger

Get your tickets here –


June 10 Poster

ReggaeFest Postponed for 2018

Calgary, Alberta – April 6, 2018


After 14 amazing years of bringing the best of Reggae to Calgary, the Board of Directors of the Calgary Reggae Festival Society has decided to postpone Calgary ReggaeFest for 2018.


Festival co-founder and producer Leo Cripps says plans are to take the next year to assess and re-imagine the event.


The festival, usually held the third weekend in August, has consistently introduced Calgarians to a very diverse collection of Reggae performers from Canada and around the world.


The festival will return in 2019.


Calgary Reggae Festival Society
Your Rastagarian Team

Helpful Hints to Make the Most of ReggaeFest

Calgary, Alberta – August 14, 2017


It’s officially ReggaeFest week! Rastagarians, are you ready?!


Kicking things off! Everything starts on Thursday, August 17 at 7:00 pm at the King Eddy (438 – 9 Avenue SE) as we celebrate 150 years of Canada uniting cultures with ‘The Golden Era of Canadian Reggae’ – a musical lecture by Dr. Jason Wilson. Pssst….it’s FREE!


Still need tickets? Get them in advance and save! Available online or at any of the locations listed below. And don’t forget, all tickets purchased give you entrance for the WHOLE weekend!

Caribbean Choice Foods – 2235 Centre Street N
Cornerstone Music Café – 139, 14919 Deer Ridge Drive SE
Heritage Posters and Music – 1316 – 11 Avenue SW
Joycee’s Caribbean Foods – 630 – 1 Avenue NE
Mayfair Foods – 4019 – 17 Avenue SE


Quench that Thirst! The H2O Water Buggy will be on site Friday and Saturday. Please bring your own refillable water bottle and fill up as needed at the water station. You’ll need to stay hydrated as the current forecast is calling for temperatures in the 20’s!!


Hungry? We’ve got that covered. Check out any (or all!) of our food vendors. Throughout the park you’ll find everything from paninis to fried chicken to sweet treats, and of course a variety of Caribbean dishes. Vegan? We’ve got that too!


Keep Joining the Conversation – #rfyyc17 and #rastagarian – We heart Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. If Snapchat is your social media of choice, make sure to try out our geofilter while you’re at the park enjoying the vibes.


Gates Open – Friday 4:00 pm – 10:30 pm, Saturday 12:00 noon – 10:30 pm


So Much Talent! If you want the lowdown on your favorite artiste prior to the fest, you can check out the Performer page on our website. Need to know when they are hitting the stage? Get the 411 on the Festival Info page.


Remember to Bring – Cash (for that awesome item you can’t resist from one of the many merchandise vendors), ID, sun protection (glasses, lotion, hat, umbrella), refillable water bottle, folding festival chairs and/or a blanket, hand sanitizer (port-a-potties are a must for festivals…), a positive attitude and your dancing shoes – ’cause who can resist moving to that sweet Reggae beat!


Fun for the Whole Family – All ReggaeFest events this year are open to all ages so come out and enjoy the whole weekend as a family. We’ll also have the Kidz Zone set up on Saturday from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm with a variety of activities to entertain the young Rastagarians.


Where to Park – or may we suggest you ride your bike or take the train! Parking is limited around Shaw Millennium Park; please follow the parking regulations to avoid disappointment after a great ReggaeFest experience. The LRT runs right by the ReggaeFest site – the nearest stop is DT West / Kerby. A Bike Lock Up is available at the main entrance for those who would like to pedal their way to the festival.


We would like to send out a HUGE thank you to our Partners and Funders! ReggaeFest would not be seeing 14 years without their amazing support!


98-5 VIRGIN Radio, Alberta Foundation For The Arts, Alberta Lottery Fund, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum and J. Wray, Calgary Arts Development Authority, Canadian Heritage, City of Calgary, CJAY 92, CJSW Radio 90.9 fm, CKUA Radio Network, Culligan Water, Exclaim! Media, Feature Productions, Funny 1060, Global Calgary, Green Event Services, Hotel Arts, MacCon Public Safety, Passport Health, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, The Calgary Sun, Travel Alberta, Village Brewery


See y’all at the fest!

The Golden Era of Canadian Reggae Music

Calgary, Alberta – August 7, 2017


For decades the essence of Reggae music has intricately weaved its way into everyday Canadian living. From the earliest days of the first Caribbean migrants until now, Reggae Music has had an influential impact on the cultural mosaic of Canada. From the earliest musing of artistes such as Bruce Cockburn to today’s Magic!, Drake and Justin Bieber, the impact of the deep roots of Reggae Music can be witnessed across the Canadian landscape.


It was these conditions that saw 14 year old Scottish Canadian Jason Wilson playing keyboard in Canada’s first major label Reggae band, Messenjah.


Thirty-plus years later, Dr. Jason Wilson has completed his doctoral thesis on the impact of Reggae Music within the Canadian diaspora, “King Alpha’s Song in a Strange Land”.


Prior to the release of his thesis in book format, Dr. Wilson, with the backing of Mad Riddim band from Vancouver, will take Rastagarians on a live musical journey through “The Golden Era of Canadian Reggae Music” from the early 1970s to 1990s and beyond.


“Yes my background is a proud Scot,” says Jason, “but all the people I grew up with were West Indians. Reggae is in my blood; it’s what I know.”


There’s no one more excited than ReggaeFest producer Leo Cripps about this event. “I am absolutely stoked for this event! It will definitely open many eyes on the importance of Reggae Music and how much impact it has had in shaping the artistic landscape of our country.”


Celebrating 150 years of Canada uniting cultures, “The Golden Era of Canadian Reggae Music” is the kick-off event to the 14th annual Calgary International Reggae Festival and takes place August 17 at the iconic King Eddy Hotel at Studio Bell, the National Music Centre. The event is all ages and free to the public.

Kirk Diamond returns to ReggaeFest

Kirk Diamond is set to perform at ReggaeFest 2017!

2015 JUNO Award nominee Kirk Diamond will be performing in Calgary for the second time. Nominated for, “Best Reggae Recording of the Year” the 90’s dancehall style influenced “Love inna wi Heart,” Kirk Diamond is quickly establishing himself as a top Canadian reggae talent.