Who doesn’t like a good marching band?

You may already know of the world-famous Calgary Stampede Showband, but the more the merrier, right? With the equally world-famous Calgary Stampede Parade happening this week, I figured I’d take the time to talk about the bands from in and around the city as well as from around the world that you’ll probably see in various Stampede events this year.

Many different bands will be participating in the festivities this year, with some from around Calgary and the surrounding area, and some from as far away as Australia and France.

These bands will make appearances not only at the Stampede Parade, but also around Stampede Park, as well as at other Stampede events happening around town like the official Stampede Caravan breakfasts.

On Tuesday, July 13, many of these bands will be competing at Showbands Live! (another event free with Park admission) at the Saddledome for a share of $18,000 in prize money.

If you’ve only ever seen a marching band in a parade, then you need to know that these guys can do more than just march around.

Known in previous years as the Visiting Bands Competition, Showbands Live! is a competition that will look at such things as musicality, uniformity, and visual impact as the bands go through their various formations while playing selected sets of music.

To give you an idea of what you can expect to see at Showbands Live!, here’s a video of an entry in last year’s competition at the Saddledome featuring the Chien Kuo Marching Band, a band that traveled to compete at last year’s Stampede all the way from Taiwan:

Being a born and raised Calgarian urbanite myself, there aren’t very many opportunities here to see many mobile and parade-ready bands in one place, so believe me when I say that it’s worth making a visit to the Stampede grounds to partake in this event. To see these competitions in an excellent venue like the Saddledome is an added bonus.

My suggestion for this event is to grab a seat on the second level, as you’ll be able to see all of the formations in their entirety from up there as opposed to in the lower bowl.

Showbands Live! only occurs at the Saddledome on Tuesday, July 13 with the semi-finals at 1:00 p.m. and the finals and award presentations at 6:00 p.m., so if you’re trying to plan your Stampede in advance, make sure you come visit on Tuesday!

And for more updates on Showbands-related news specifically, keep an eye out here on the Blog.