Fresh off their flights, passengers arriving at the Calgary International Airport are in for a Stampede surprise this year: live music while they wait for their luggage at the baggage carousels.
Local musicians perched on a platform above the carousels are playing for the crowds.
“Fantastic! I really like it,” said Ontario passenger Betty Willemsen. “Normally, when you come off an airplane, you’re tired and you think, ‘Oh, I have to pick up the suitcase,’ and now it’s like, ‘Wow!'”
It’s a new addition to the wide range of welcoming activities the airport provides during the Calgary Stampede.
“One of my least favourite things to do in an airport is wait for my bags,” said Michael Hayward, the airport authority’s vice president of marketing and guest experience.
“People are waiting until the song is over and then they collect their bags and they’re hanging out for a few minutes. When do you ever see that?”
Veteran Calgary musician Christina Colyn is enjoying the unusual opportunity to welcome passengers.
“Especially after a long flight, they look a bit tired,” Colyn said. “So I usually try to choose music than can kind of pick them up a little bit.”
Playing atop the baggage carousel is an offshoot of a year-round program that places musicians throughout the airport.
“With so many people travelling through, we get a chance to meet new people from all over the place,” Colyn said. “So as a musician, it’s great.”
And carousel live performances will soon extend beyond a few days in July.
“We do this for Stampede,” Hayward said. “But now this is so much fun, we’re starting to do this all year round.”
For many of the passengers, it’s a nice way to kick off their visit to Calgary.
“It’s really an awesome idea!” Ontario passenger Rob Goodwill said. “It just builds on that dream of coming to the Stampede.”