City administrators decided on Wednesday to allow so-called Stampede party tents to play amplified music past midnight during the 2019 Calgary Stampede.
The discussion comes after Cowboys Dance Hall was given the go-ahead to play music at its Stampede tent until 2 a.m. following an appeal earlier this year. Live performances at the tent must still end by midnight, but a DJ is allowed to play until 2 a.m. Alcohol can also be served until 2 a.m., but the tent has to be vacated by 3 a.m.
The appeal, which Cowboys won, caused other local bars to push for the same deal.
On Wednesday, the City of Calgary announced it would be accepting noise exemption permit applications on a trial run for special-function Stampede tents only, saying the exemptions are only temporary.
Permit applications will be accepted until Friday, July 5 for businesses that have already been approved to operate a special-function tent from July 4 to 15, 2019.
“The location and site context will be considered in the decision of each application,” the city explained. “And we will expedite our review to have all decisions made by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 5.”
Thomas McDonald, the owner of Knoxville’s Tavern, was among those pushing to have their music licence extended until 2 a.m.
“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 their Stampede tent.
According to the city, bylaws that outline acceptable outdoor decibel levels will still apply.
“We work successfully with bars and restaurants to maintain acceptable noise levels every Stampede and throughout the year,” chief bylaw officer Ryan Pleckaitis said in a news release.
“We will be proactively monitoring noise and activity around these establishments and can respond to any concerns we receive from citizens.”
Previously, multiple Calgary councillors said they thought the city should be flexible with music during the Stampede.
“Stampede is once a year for 10 days,” Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland told Global News on Tuesday. “Having all these restrictions really doesn’t make sense.”
Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said she was pleased with the ruling that Cowboys received, and wanted all other special function tents to have the same rules.
“Now we are going to get blowback from residents saying, ‘We don’t want all this noise and all these people are raising hell in our neighbourhoods and whatnot. But you know what? To me, it’s a small price to pay for 10 days.”
“I’m quite prepared to take the complaints from people, but everyone has to have the same opportunity.”
Anyone with noise complaints or concerns during the 10 days of Stampede can call 311 or 403-266-1234.
— With files from Doug Vaessen