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Tegan And Sara - Midway Memories

Tegan and Sara Share Their Midway Memories of the Calgary Stampede

Sugar flashbacks and dizzying rides, the Coca-Cola Stage returns to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

by Christine Leonard

Illustration by Erik Grice

The return of the Coca-Cola Stage to the Calgary Stampede is a big deal when you consider the deficit of live music and the obvious appetite for entertainment of all varieties. The programming at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth this year finds a multi-genre lineup of acts ranging from rock, to hip-hop, pop, and EDM. 

RANGE checked in with legendary Calgary pop-rock duo Tegan and Sara to ask the musically inclined twins about their fondest memories of attending the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede and how the annual event was celebrated by their family. Looking back on getting dressed up in their western finest and joining the crowds at pancake breakfasts and grandstand performances, the pair reminisce about times gone by and the musical impressions bestowed by the talents that graced the iconic Coca-Cola Stage.

What are your fondest childhood memories of the Calgary Stampede?

As kids, we absolutely loved going to the Calgary Stampede. Our parents were divorced, so it meant we got to go twice a year, once with our mom and step dad, and once with our dad.  It was our big summer treat after school let out. For me, Stampede felt a bit like a second Christmas. For our family it was a big expense and our parents saved to take us and made a big deal out of treating us to ride passes and games and all the good food. Our Grandma would also host a Stampede breakfast every year and everyone would dress western.  

Do you have any favourite recollections of seeing live bands perform on the Coca-Cola stage?

As teenagers, we were allowed to attend the Stampede with our friends, a totally different, but equally thrilling experience. We’d take the C-train down and wander the grounds like the mall or our high school halls, our arms over each other’s shoulders. I believe it was in 1996 that Rhymes with Orange and 54-40 played and we and all our friends went to see the show.  We moshed and crowd surfed, tearing up our jeans, a friend even lost a shoe! Rhymes with Orange were all over the indie am radio station Mix 1060 and we were obsessed with them.  I think part of the appeal was that it was a Canadian band and we felt proud of that.

How did the Coca-Cola Stage shows compare to your other concert-going experiences?

We’d been to punk shows at Carpenters Union Hall in the afternoons without parents before, but this was really our first time going to a concert without an adult chaperone and I just remember us getting completely wrecked physically in the crowd. The audience was older and mostly male and we were all so little. But we loved it.  

Which midway rides made you scream the loudest?

Oh gosh, it’s been 20 years since I’ve been, so I have no recollection of a specific ride. But as young people, I remember Sara and I loving The Zipper, and the boat and going on both a zillion times. 

All-time favourite midway food indulgence?

We loved mini donuts! Still do in fact!

Our Coca-Cola Stage 2022 Picks

Thursday, July 7: Renforshort

Friday, July 8: Half Moon Run

Saturday, July 9: Cartel Madras

Sunday, July 10: Milky Chance

Monday, July 11: Alexisonfire

Tuesday, July 12: The Beaches

Wednesday, July 13: Tash Sultana

Thursday, July 14: Apollo Suns

Friday, July 15: New Pornographers

Saturday, July: 16 Miesha & The Spanks

Sunday, July 17: Alessia Cara

View the full line-up and schedule here