June 27, 2019 7:38 pm
Updated: June 27, 2019 8:34 pm

Cowboys wins appeal to operate Stampede tent past midnight

WATCH: Cowboys has won an appeal limiting its event hours. Here’s Tomasia DaSilva with the ruling, reaction and what it could mean for other tent operators.

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Cowboys Dance Hall will be able to serve alcohol and play music past midnight during Stampede this year, following an appeal of new rules imposed by the city.

Penny Lane Entertainment, the company that runs Cowboys Dance Hall, won the appeal on Thursday of conditions that limited hours of operation of their popular tent during the 2019 Calgary Stampede.

The Cowboys tent was forced to move this year from its regular location on the Stampede grounds due to the BMO Centre expansion.

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City officials approved a new location for the tent on 12 Avenue S.E., where the old Enoch Sales House stood before burning down earlier this year.

There was contention from residents in the area who raised concerns about noise and the need for more security.

Cowboys held information sessions in May to try to sway community support for the new location. Meantime, city officials set strict rules around operating conditions for Cowboys, including turning off any music by midnight and shutting down for the night by 1 a.m. each day of Stampede.

WATCH: How the Calgary Stampede is working to position itself for the future

Cowboys appealed those conditions, requesting an extension of operations until 2 a.m. as well as more time to tear down the tent following the 10-day event.

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On Thursday afternoon, the Subdivision and Development appeal board granted Penny Lane Entertainment’s request to extend hours, meaning live performances must now end by midnight, but alcohol can also be served and DJ is allowed to play music until 2 a.m.

Cowboys is also receiving an extension for tearing down the tent until July 25.

Officials from Cowboys Dance Hall declined to comment, saying they needed time to digest the decision.

“The community and the neighbour’s position was that it was all about noise,” Bill Fischer with the Erlton Community Association, said. “Cowboys wanted to extend the period to have noise in order to generate liquor sales and increase profit and that came at the expense of neighbours. But a decision is a decision.”

Meanwhile, operations will continue as planned at Knoxville’s, which sets up a tent outside their location on 9 Avenue S.W. annually for Stampede.

The bar is operating under guidelines set by city officials, which state that music must be turned off by midnight, alcohol sales are to be cut off at 1 a.m., and the event area must be shut down by 2 a.m.

Knoxville’s owners said they have been working with the city every year since the establishment of their tent to get music approved until 2 a.m., but all their attempts so far have been unsuccessful.

While the approval of the new rules around the Cowboys tent doesn’t come as a surprise to the owners of Knoxville’s, ownership said there is concern over a fair playing field when it comes to how long these establishments can stay open.

“We are aware that a similarly licensed establishment is seeking an extension of its operating conditions from the City of Calgary,” Knoxville’s Tavern owner Thomas McDonald said. “Although we can’t comment on any business beyond our own, our expectation is that any change in regulatory structure would also apply to any business operators that fall within the same category.  We have consistently worked with the city for the past four years to extend our music hours to 2 a.m. without success but would welcome change if it applied to everyone.”

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