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Calgary bar owners push for extended Stampede music hours after Cowboys appeal win

Calgary bar owners hope for extended music hours after Cowboys Stampede tent decision
WATCH: The owners of the Cowboys Dance Hall won an appeal to play music at their tent past midnight during the 2019 Calgary Stampede. Joel Senick spoke with two other bar owners who believe they should be granted the same extension.

A Calgary bar owner is asking the mayor if there’s any way his venue can play music on its patio past midnight during the 2019 Stampede after the Cowboys Dance Hall tent received the same extension from an appeals board.

Last Thursday the Calgary Subdivision and Development appeal board granted Penny Lane Entertainment, which runs the Cowboys tent, a request that will allow them to extend their hours. Live performances at the tent must still end by midnight, but a DJ is allowed to play until 2 a.m.

READ MORE: Cowboys wins appeal to operate Stampede tent past midnight

“How can there be one rule for one operator and everybody else has different rules,” Stuart Allan, the owner of Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub said in an interview Monday. He and other bar owners must still abide by city rules that force them to turn off music on patios and in tents by midnight.

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“It seems obviously unfair and inequitable.”

Allan said he’s written to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to see “if there’s something that he can do to level the playing field.”

When asked about the situation on Monday, Nenshi described it as a “strange technical issue” and pointed out that the appeal board that made the decision is independent from the City of Calgary.

“Cowboys appealed their approvals… all these other businesses, when they got their permits, did not appeal it and so it’s actually hard for us to go back and change the conditions of their permit,” Nenshi explained.

“That said, nothing’s impossible so we’ll see what happens over the next few days.”

READ MORE: Beltline residents raise concerns about new location of Cowboys concert tent ahead of Calgary Stampede

Thomas McDonald, the owner of Knoxville’s Tavern, said he will also closely monitor city hall to see if Nenshi or any councillors discuss the matter before Stampede begins. His bar operates a tent that’s comparable to Cowboys’ in size and said he’s approached the city in each of the last four years to discuss a 2 a.m. music license.

“The extra hours would give extended time for the event which will lead into more employment and more viability to the festival,” McDonald said Monday, as his construction crew worked to set up the tent.

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“The City of Calgary is a modern city and I really don’t think they would arbitrarily apply a bylaw to one business over another.”

McDonald said he’s hopeful the Cowboys ruling will mean his venue and others will ultimately be allowed to play music past midnight during the 10-day event. He plans to get in contact with city officials on Tuesday when they’re back in the office.

The Calgary Stampede runs from July 5 to the 14.