If you didn’t catch Michael Bernard Fitzgerald or “MBF” at his latest Calgary concert at the historic Palace Theatre, you’ve probably passed him walking on the Ave or stood behind him in line at Analog Coffee. This local singer-songwriter is known both for his ability to break hearts playing solos with his acoustic guitar, and for his mega concert productions featuring dozens of other artists. At one of his performances he shared the stage with a full choir, orchestra, dancers, and even the YYC Cycle Bikergang. This month, we walk with MBF as he tells us about what keeps him inspired to write, where he’s playing next, and what he loves to do along 17th Ave.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What gets you up in the morning?
Coffee. This morning I started things off with two eggs, a banana and an orange.
What projects are you involved with right now?
I’ve been a touring and recording songwriter for the last 9 years (ilovembf.com) and for the past few months, I’ve also been working with a group of Calgarians around a climate change effort through tree planting called TreeEra (TreeEra.com)
What keeps you inspired to continue writing & touring?
Good writing and touring always keeps me inspired to continue writing and touring. A great show or song keeps it all moving.
You’re playing festivals in the Netherlands & the UK! Tell us a bit about that.
Naked Song festival in the Netherlands will be my first time playing in Europe. Hopefully my guitar doesn’t have trouble with the time change… Cambridge Folk Festival in July will be great as well. I’m thankful for the opportunity to play.
Any plans to play in Calgary this spring/summer?
I always love playing a Calgary summer outdoor show, hopefully one happens this summer.
Any chance you have another album in the works?
I’ve been writing and recording a lot this year – so I will get back to that after the Netherlands.
With over 400 services on the Ave, which of your ‘to-do’s do you get done on 17th ?
I frequently get my pizza to-do list done at UNA and flowers with Elli at Small Flower. Last summer during Folk Fest, she did up arrangements for pie receptions that we hosted with Humble Pie and People for twenty folk fest attendees after each of my shows. I’ll have to look into the other 398 services.
What is your favourite thing about 17th Ave?
I love walking 17th – There’s always people you know and something to do.
Favourite place to shop?
I’ve gotten a few things at Less 17 and have been meaning to pick up a bottle of wine at Vine Arts. I probably shop for coffee and food the most, and am always happy to grab something at Analog, a pint, lunch or dinner on 17th.
Best place for a night out or favourite restaurant etc, any hidden gems?
This past Tuesday I was surprised with a birthday celebration at Frenchie – couldn’t have asked for a better evening.
What would you like to see on 17th in the future?
What’s up next for you?
Springtime in Calgary. Time to get the bicycle back out. I try to enjoy my time at home as much as possible as there will be a lot of travel this year I’m sure. Time to grab a coffee and renew my passport.
Stay up-to-date on all things MBF by following him online: