Where to be at Calgary Stampede 2016


Jim Cuddy and Blue Rodeo play the Calgary Stampede on Monday, July 11. (Julia Pelish file photo/Vacay.ca)

Story by Dan Pigat
Vacay.ca Writer

CALGARY, ALBERTA — The Calgary Stampede is one of the biggest music festivals in Canada, even though it’s not an official music festival. Live bands are everywhere from neighbourhood breakfasts to the Arrivals gate at the airport (Stampede starts once you step off the plane). While we can’t possibly list everything, here are more than 50 acts by time and place to plan your own version of this 10-day party (all times Central Time):

Thursday, July 7th 
The Dungarees (first of several shows) 5:30pm Nashville North
The Road Hammers 6pm Wildhorse Saloon
Christian Hudson 7pm Coca-Cola Stage
JJ Shiplett 8pm Coca-Cola Stage
Tim Hicks 8pm Nashville North
The Dudes 9:15pm Coca-Cola Stage
Friday, July 8th
Walk Off The Earth 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
High Valley 10pm Nashville North
Saturday, July 9th
Coleman Hell 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Wes Mack 10pm Nashville North
Sunday, July 10th
Blink-182 6pm Cowboys Tent
Redfoo & Party Rock Crew 7pm Cowboys Dance Hall
Classified 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Aaron Pritchett 10pm Nashville North
Monday, July 11th
Huey Lewis and the News 11am Cowboys Tent
Milky Chance 6pm Wildhorse Saloon
Blue Rodeo 7pm Cowboys Tent
House of Pain 7pm Cowboys Dance Hall
X Ambassadors 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Tebey 10pm Nashville North
Tuesday, July 12th
John Conlee 12:30pm, 3pm Nashville North
Reuben and the Dark 6pm Wildhorse Saloon
Desiigner 7pm Cowboys Dance Hall
Thomas Rhett with Brett Kissel 7pm Cowboys Tent
The Sheepdogs 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Deric Ruttan 10pm Nashville North
Wednesday, July 13th
Moist Doors at 3pm Fort Calgary
The Cult Doors at 3pm Fort Calgary
KISS Doors at 3pm Fort Calgary
BC/DC 7pm Wildhorse Saloon
The Strumbellas 7pm Cowboys Dance Hall
Hunter Hayes 7pm Cowboys Tent
Jocelyn Alice 8pm Coca-Cola Stage
Shawn Hook 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Cold Creek Country 10pm Nashville North
Thursday, July 14th
Blackjack Billy 7pm Wildhorse Saloon
Mother Mother 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Zac Brown Band 7:30pm Scotiabank Saddledome
Kentucky Headhunters 10pm Nashville North
Friday, July 15th
Matthew Good Doors at 3pm Fort Calgary
Serena Ryder Doors at 3pm Fort Calgary
Don Henley Doors at 3pm Fort Calgary
Lady Antebellum 7:30pm Scotiabank Saddledome
Dear Rouge 8pm Coca-Cola Stage
Glorious Sons 9:30pm Coca-Cola Stage
Washboard Union 10pm Nashville North
Saturday, July 16th
Gord Bamford 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Jojo Mason 9pm Nashville North
Madeline Merlo 10:30pm Nashville North
Sunday, July 17th
Ice Cube and Flo Rida 6pm Cowboys Tent
Simple Plan 9pm Coca-Cola Stage
Jason Greely & All Star Band 9pm, 10:30pm Nashville North

A few tips for first-timers:

  • Nashville North and Coca-Cola Stage are both free with admission to the Stampede grounds. Expect a younger crowd to pack the Coca-Cola Stage both for their pop bands and because Nashville North is a no-minors-allowed affair (warning: a bit of drinking goes on).
  • Fort Calgary hosts the two biggest parties for you and 17,000 of your closest friends. It’s a walk to the LRT and buses disperse the crowd to after-party bars free of charge. Note that Fort Calgary was built in 1875 and our pioneers didn’t plan for festival level parking (in other words, don’t bring your car).
  • The Grandstand Show is held each night on the grounds and isn’t listed, although it has its fair share of singing, dancing, acrobatics and fireworks. They will likely feature a name you know, and sometimes one of the Young Canadians goes on to make a name for his or herself (the latest: Kiesza).
  • You should probably expect this from the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” but most venues are either outdoors or in tents. It gets hot so don’t forget to drink water on top of anything else you use to quench your thirst (no judgment here).

Special mention goes to the Stampede Roundup on Wednesday afternoon. The organizers went all out this year with Moist opening for The Cult opening for KISS. It’s a bit expensive at $120 per ticket until you consider two things: it’s worth it and it’s for charity. More than $200,000 is raised each year by the Rotary Club.

All across the city, whether your taste is more marching bands or Moist, there’s truly something for everyone. And remember, it’s OK for all of us to like country music — at least for these 10 days.

Dan works in software by day, but gets away from the computer screen to experience life outdoors whenever possible. He can be found on most things that go down a mountain, whether a snowboard in the winter or mountain bike in the summer, as shares his experiences in both print and online, plus is a guest blogger at Travels with Baggage. At the end of the day, Dan gravitates to wherever there is good food, drinks and music.

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