I looked around a big dorky smile on my face. As I panned over the crowd I realized I wasn’t the only one glowing from the sheer fun of what was going on at Olympic Plaza. Smiling faces were everywhere and everyone was dancing — teenagers parents hipsters hippies and electro music freaks. Calgarians hundreds of them were dancing .

For those of you who missed Snowblower last night (part of the High Performance Rodeo) well too bad for you. Olympic Plaza was almost full in the middle of January and under the gaze of city hall in what felt like the start of better things to come in Cowtown.

In 1995 I packed my bags and left Calgary vowing never to return. It took ten years but I eventually made my way home and found a city that had grown considerably (in numbers and in culture). It is events like Snowblower that reward my decision to return.

Beats Antique were fantastic combining samples and electronic beats with violins drums and something that looked like an electric banjo meets sitar (bansitar?). The cold and my immense thirst meant that I missed Pretty Lights opting instead for a boozy interlude at the Laycraft Lounge (the Rodeo bar set up in the Motel space in the Epcor Centre). But the music from the show outside played over the speakers inside.

Venturing back out the Plaza was near capacity as Mr. Scruff played easily danceable tunes and everyone got in on the action.

There was no beer garden at this fest and I can’t help but think that’s a good thing. There wasn’t an aura of excessive drunkeness that you often find at music fests. Marijuana smoke hung in the air but that’s hardly threatening. Everyone was there to to have a good time without the binge drinking.

At the opening night of Last Stand to Reason at Lunchbox Theatre High Performance Rodeo curator Michael Green promised that Snowblower would be the party of the decade (admitting that it was fairly early in the 10’s to make that claim). Party of the decade? I’m not sure about that but it’s in the running. The most important thing is that Snowblower raised the standard for what Calgary can pull off.

Looking around and seeing all those smiling faces and all those dancing bodies I couldn’t help but think that Calgary is finally an exciting place to be.

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