“Music Lives Here” was a theme and initiative that focused on Calgary and Canadian music leading up to and including Juno week. However, music has always lived here, from small clubs to the Saddledome many an act has commented about the energy that Calgary’s music lovers exude. It was a theme that many artists repeatedly commented on as well during Juno week festivities.
Hedley returned to the Saddledome stage for the Junos just a few months after opening for Bon Jovi in December.
“It is great to be in this arena and the Saddledome is a wicked venue. Calgary is one of the more exciting cities to go to, it has a lot of nightlife and a lot to offer,” Jacob Hoggard of the band told GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine during a pre-Juno press conference two days before the broadcast. “Even crowds and fan reaction, we have always had a consistently solid reaction from fans in shows we have played her on our own, not to mention the tour with Bon Jovi which was very successful and a lot of fun. It made for a nice setup for the record, and it is great to be back in the same stadium.”
“It is a great city, great party town with great people,” Michael Bublé told reporters backstage at the Junos. “When I walked into rehearsal today I met [Flames coach] Mike Keenan, and he took me through the Flames dressing room. It was pretty cool to see all the plaques and stuff. …I like the girls in Alberta, especially when they grow those little Lanny McDonald mustaches. I know its weird but a couple of beers and I am in that.”
Even Juno host Russell Peters got into the act, donning cowboy gear during the broadcast in tribute to our fair province.
”Other than the really tight wranglers it’s not a bad outfit to wear. The boots hurt your toe a little. The cowboy hat I liked, if I could figure out a way to incorporate that into my life without ending up in [GayCalgary and Edmonton] magazine, I would rock that cowboy hat,” he joked. “I have been here many, many times. I have played small towns in Alberta that even Albertan’s go ‘Where the hell is that?’ We used to call it Fort McFuckingMurray. I have seen every inch of this province and it is a great place to be.”
Bif Naked also loves Calgary, as she told GayCalgary Magazine in her August 2005 cover story.
”It is a common fact that I love Calgary and it is the only other place in Canada that I would live besides Vancouver. I have been coming there for so many years I know my way around. I love the people and the weather, Chinooks, and the natural food store on 10th Ave. You get all four seasons there and it doesn’t rain like it does in Vancouver. I would make a good Alberta girl, I like Ford F150 trucks a lot and if I moved there I would definitely get one of those because I would probably start dressing like a rancher. I think Calgary and I would fit and it calls me, it beckons and whistles.”
Many artists have made Calgary their home, including Jann Arden and Paul Brandt, who still reside in and near Calgary.
“It is so exciting to be able to perform at the Saddledome. I grew up singing in the Youth Talent Showdown at the Stampede and to be able to be here and accept two Juno awards is phenomenal, and I am loving every minute of it. I think Calgary has an incredible spirit and even as the city continues to grow there is something about the heart and soul of Calgary that is small town and warm. Even though it is very cosmopolitan and progressive there is still a feel that we all care about each other here,” Brandt said.
He and wife Liz are expecting a baby, who will be born and bred here. “We will definitely be raising him here. We moved back from Nashville about three years ago after nine years there, and Alberta is going to be home for us for as long as I can make it.”
Of course, the Calgary music scene in 2008 will forever be associated with Feist. The hometown girl swept the awards, winning all five of her nominated categories, and it was very special to win in Calgary.
“The beginning was deep, and all roads lead to Calgary after all,” she said for the French CBC media, before translating to English.
“It is two blocks away [from the Saddledome] that we used to rent out the Victoria Community Hall as 16 year old scrappy kids in Doc Martins and put on shows. It is a strange night for this, it lead me right back here. I saw my first concert here at the Saddledome, Tina Turner when I was 8 years old.”
Calgary has grown a great deal both in population and blossoming musical scene.
“I don’t think Calgary needs anyone else’s opinion, it is its own Metropolis at this point, like a mini Vancouver,” Feist continued. “I left 12 years ago and come back now and there are waterfront condos. It seems like Junofest was great. I was being shunted in vehicles from place to place and didn’t get to see any shows. I was at the Grammy Awards, which is like the American Junos, and this is better. It is more comfortable. I am really glad to be here and have it be in Calgary.”
Although she no longer lives here, Feist still has roots deep in Calgary, and makes sure to visit as often as possible.
“I came here three weeks ago to hang with my family undisturbed and give some serious Mom time, so when I came back it is easier - it’s not ‘I can’t make it to dinner I have to go the Junos.’ Any time I am on the West Coast and have a few days off I fly home and visit my Mom like a good daughter.”