Calgary Stampede 2019 pt. ii
With the rain clearing out for (at least most of) the rest of the week, attendance to Stampede went up rapidly. Children’s day was just as busy as family day, and then the Wednesday which offered some free entries was possibly one of the busiest that I had seen throughout the entire grounds. It’s no surprise with how much the program seems to have improved in the last few years. For one, the fact that there are consistent openers to the main acts on the Coke Stage is a huge step in the right direction. Not only that, but everything seems to be relatively well spread, including a section for family as well as the more club-based atmospheres. On top of it all, there’s also the morning crew of musicians playing in the afternoon building up attention to the Coke Stage before the main event a few hours later. In the past it was always catered towards children, Dora usually taking place on the stage, but this year there’s actually different artists from all across Canada that grace the stage. It’s enough to make the passionate music people of Calgary skip work, or attempt to get the whole week off just to ensure that they are able to catch one of the acts.
For those who only were able to come in the evening, they were given amazing acts such as Bülow and King Princess, two artists that even I had never anticipated to make it to Calgary. It was a beautiful sight to see people with rainbow hair, rainbow flags, and signs with notes of pride flood into the crowd among the cowboy hats to show off their support for the acts that also have a prominent place in the LGBTQ+ community. Even one of the first things that King Princess said as she walked out was, “I see some gays,” and the crowd went wild at the acknowledgement and the wide smile that had spread across the artist’s face. It was one of the first times that I had ever seen such vibrant and open representation, with the exception of Orville Peck who had played a little less than a week prior at the Coke Stage as well.
Throughout all of Stampede there was different acts, but one of them that I made sure to check out in the last few days were the swaying beams. The show is advertised as one of the the most intense performances on earth, and that’s the truth. Watching the main host of the event stack his square chairs on top of one another went from, “Oh, cool, interesting,” to full of anxiety, nervous that the heavy winds would take him away. Instead, he was about to do a hand stand on a leaning chair, no problem at all, in one of the small moments that the wind wasn’t overwhelming.
Photography: Brandynn LP