Our Mission: The Heart of the City Festival Society of Edmonton is a year-round organization that promotes local and emerging artists through the curation of music and arts events including a free, annual, family-friendly festival in central Edmonton.
"Inspiration and opportunity through the arts"
2 DAYS OF FAMILY-FRIENDLY MUSIC AND ART!
HAVE A STRESS-FREE FEST WHEN YOU FIGURE OUT THE IN'S & OUT'S
There is plenty of parking in the nearby area, when there are no events happening at the stadium, but the best way to ensure that you can enjoy the festival without worrying about your car is to take the bus! The number 5 bus goes right in front of the park several times each day.
ACTIVITIES IN THE PARK
The park boasts a playground for kids, large mature trees for shade, benches for resting, a beautiful fountain, and walking paths. We will have food, activities for the kids, art workshops, music workshops, and more!
KEEP OUR PARK GREEN & CLEAN
There are several trash and recycling boxes around the park for your convenience. Thanks for helping us keep the park beautiful!
HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL
The Heart of the City Music and Arts Festival started in 2003 as the result of a series of open stages at the Bissell Centre’s community drop-in. During that time, there were many community initiatives being brought forth by passionate citizens of Edmonton who wanted to improve McCauley for the residents as well as visitors.
Through the efforts of people like Roy Agnew, Mark Ruble and Darlene Arsenault, an idea to foster the development of musicians from Edmonton’s inner city with a music festival was born.
The festival would give any musician living in the downtown core the opportunity to perform to a live audience, and at the same time the public would be welcome to enjoy the performances.
The very first festival was held in Giovanni Caboto Park, then moved to the Sacred Heart Church’s soccer field behind the McCauley Apartments for year two. In the third, and all consecutive years since, the festival has been held in Giovanni Caboto Park.
Then a partnership with Don Snider from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival gave the festival the opportunity to borrow two full size stages and then eventually move to a bigger space in Giovanni Caboto Park beside the Boys and Girls Club in Little Italy.
In 2009, the organizers decided to include artists to the festival along with free workshops.
In 2010, a second day was added to the event, making Heart of the City a full 2-day festival.
As the festival grew, so did many of the musicians. Several of our performers have continued their musical journey, playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and other venues around Edmonton. As time went by, new faces joined the board of directors and new features were added to the program of events.
In 2013, thanks to the help of CJSR and the Bissell Centre (with the help of many other partnerships), dozens of musicians who have played for the festival got the opportunity to be featured on Beating Strong, a CD compilation that was freely distributed around Edmonton.
There have been many instrumental people during the past 11 years who have lent their time and energy into the organization of the festival. These people have been connected the festival to organizations like the McCauley Community League, Boyle Street Community Services, the Bissell Centre, the Native Friendship Centre, the Nina Haggerty Arts Centre, the McCauley apartments and the Brain Injury Society. These are just a few of many partnerships that the festival has made around McCauley. Without these organizations, the festival simply would not be.
Today the hundreds of partners and volunteers for Heart of the City still work hard for the mission: to provide a free, family-friendly music and arts festival in the heart of Edmonton that promotes and supports original, local and emerging artists.