There were a lot of high points for events in Calgary this year. Quickly becoming a city known not only for wild parties during Stampede, YYC is now on the map for notable events like High Performance Rodeo, Sled Island Music Festival, Packwood Grand and the quirky but cool Beakerhead science festival.
And with underground taco pop-ups, we can safely say our food scene is just another feather in the cap. Read on to see what we consider to be 10 defining events this year:
1. Despite January being a less than sexy month, High Performance Rodeo (Calgary’s premier festival of art and performance) definitely helped us shake off the winter doldrums with a little skin, a few tassels, and a touch of celebrity.
Walrus Talks featuring Shad asked us to think about tomorrow, Bruce McCulloch’s Young Drunk Punk paid tribute to Kids in the Hall, and the Garter Girl’s burlesque troupe helped us forget our inhibitions.
And who can resist getting a little tipsy at the annual wine stage that showcases wines from only the best of Alberta wine boutiques.
2. We all know that Calgarians are generous, but when you throw in a host bar, that definitely helps. In February, YPs helped Special Olympians realize their dreams by attending the 2014 motionball Gala at Flames Central.
Dressed to the nines, YPs spent the evening being entertained by dance crew IILFX and listening to the sweet spinning of DJ Scratch Bastid.
3. We may have been well-dressed at motionball but this spring’s PARKSHOW was another fashion must-do. The PARK team did a tremendous job of transforming a golf dome in a haute couture runway with a notable guest list.
Rebecca King, Bano eeMee and Coutu Kitsch proved how much local talent we have when it comes to fashion.
4. Unbeknownst to many, Calgary has its own underground fight club. A foodie fight club, that is, and it’s called Taco or No Taco. The third installation of this rowdy event took place at the Commonwealth and featured high-flying luchadore wrestling against a hip-hop soundtrack. Between matches people waited in line for tacos and bourbon.
5. This year’s Sled Island came back in full force after being cancelled due to the flood in 2013. And for anyone who hasn’t been to Sled, this festival is truly magic.
Dan Deacon turned the Royal Canadian Legion upside down with an interactive DJ party, Surf Rock girl group La Luz rocked the Golden Age Center, former Wolf Parade members blew audiences away with the new electronic project called Operators, and Atlanta rap mogul Killer Mike made new friends at Republic with his Killer lyrics and charm.
Count on Sled Island to be the only music festival where a rapper the size of a Kodak grizzly bear is giving out free hugs to fan.
You can’t make this stuff up.
6. On July 1st, we had our Pretty Woman moment when the Millarville Racetrack hosted a classy VIP party inspired by the Kentucky Derby.
The first annual Packwood Grande proved that Calgary can incorporate Holt Renfrew and Champagne into any kind of party.
7. We can’t go without mentioning the 10 gloriously boozy days of summer that, whether you love it or hate, are of great cultural significance in Cowtown. We talking about Stampede of course. Every year we return to take in epic country music, wild tent parties, legendary hook ups, free pancakes and cheap beer… that are inevitably followed by the worst hangover you’ve ever had.
It’s no coincidence that April has the highest birthrate in our city.
Even better: we had Folk Fest to bring us down right after Stampede with some truly amazing acts like Rufus Wainwright, Chad VanGaalen and Basia Bulat.
8. Taking a cue from Paris, several thousand Calgarians dressed in white descended on Pumphouse Park in early September for Diner en Blanc 2014.
9. We love cowboys… but we also love science. And this September our city was taken over with the Beakerhead festival that celebrates everything biology, chemistry, and physics. We rode on a ferris wheel to dine on gourmet meals, checked out Burning Man attractions, and rocked out in East Village with astronauts and El Pulpo, the giant fire- breathing octopus.
10. We could probably list another 10 fabulous events that happened this year, but we couldn’t go without mentioning the Notable Apothic party at Black Betty with Olympian Kaillie Humphries. How can’t you love a room packed with YYC’s best and brightest YPs, a bobsled superstar sharing inspirational words, and, of course, free wine? We don’t like to toot our own horn, but this was a pretty top-notch time.
If you missed some of 2014’s events, then stay tuned for our list of what is sure to be some of the best events coming in 2015.
Party on, Calgary.