The Ultimate Guide to a Live Music Venue in Calgary
Have you ever wondered where to catch the best live music venue in Calgary? Let’s embark on a musical journey!
Calgary, known for its picturesque landscapes, is also a haven for music lovers. If you’ve recently moved here or are just looking for a fresh spot to enjoy some tunes, we’ve got you covered.
Why Live Music Matters
Listening to music on your headphones is great, but there’s something magical about live performances. The energy, the atmosphere, and the feeling of being connected to the artist and fellow fans are unparalleled. Moreover, a live music venue provides a unique opportunity to witness raw talent in its purest form.
Things to Remember
When planning to visit any of these venues, remember to:
- Check their schedules in advance
- Book your tickets early, especially for popular acts
- Respect the venue rules, ensuring a pleasant experience for everyone
So, next time you’re in the mood for some live music, now you know exactly where to go in Calgary. Remember, music is not just about listening; it’s about feeling. Experience it live, and let the rhythms take you on an unforgettable journey.
1. National Music Centre
The National Music Centre is one of Calgary’s premier concert and event venues, preserving Canadian culture through the love of music and art. It is known for hosting live performances, featuring local and international artists across various genres. This year, the NMC is celebrating over 50 years of Canadian music with their “Rock the Nation” show, encompassing songs from the 1960s to today, catering to an audience of all ages. They stand out not just as a venue, but also for their promotion and support of music in diverse ways.
ADDRESS: 850 4 St. SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0L8, Canada
CONTACT INFO: 403-543-5115 [email protected]
At the heart of Calgary’s nightlife, Koi seamlessly blends foot-tapping live music with a culinary experience on 1st Street. Especially on the weekends, this venue buzzes with energy, a testament to its popularity among locals. Koi stands out for its diverse lineup of live shows that keep visitors coming back for more. Legendary open mic sessions grace their stage on Tuesdays at the Attic in Inglewood, while poetic souls converge for a spoken word session every third Sunday. Yet, for many, the real treat is the Friday Specials, where seasoned songwriters delve deep into their artistry, engaging the audience with a unique song-for-song setup. Though some have pointed out areas of improvement in their menu, the musical allure of Koi remains unmatched. Beyond just a live music venue, Koi offers its space for personal music-themed events, making it an ideal choice for album launches or special celebrations.
ADDRESS: 1011 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J2, Canada
3. Calgary Folk Music Festival at Prince’s Island Park
For long-standing music enthusiasts, the Calgary Folk Music Festival is no stranger. Hosted annually at Prince’s Island Park since 1980, this event is among the city’s most eagerly awaited, proudly presented by the Folk Festival Society. Spanning four days, the festival has solidified its reputation as one of Calgary’s premier musical gatherings.
An outdoor event, it witnesses a staggering 53,000 attendees, echoing its grandeur. Featuring a lineup of 70 artists performing across various stages, it reminds one of the vibrancy of Coachella, but with a folksy touch. Beyond just melodies, the festival celebrates the union of songs and shared stories.
This July, the Calgary Folk Music Festival promises more surprises and harmonious activities for everyone, though the specifics are yet to be unveiled. But, its longstanding legacy and the sheer anticipation of ticket sales stand testament to its recognition in the community.
ADDRESS: 1215 10 Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta
CONTACT INFO: +1 403-233-0904 | [email protected]
4. Arts Commons
Arts Commons is a vital component of Calgary’s bustling arts and culture scene, offering a venue where art, music, and collaborative ventures come alive. With an array of features that include spacious waiting areas and comfortable seating arrangements, it’s no wonder that patrons always look forward to events hosted here. Besides, with the cleanliness of the venue and the professionalism of the staff, each visit promises an unparalleled experience. What stands out about Arts Commons is its versatility. With five theaters, including the renowned Jack Singer Concert Hall, they are equipped to host multiple events simultaneously. They house around 1,800 events annually, featuring performances and concerts from globally acclaimed artists. Despite its many merits, there are areas for improvement. Feedback often touches upon limited parking and fewer food stalls, but the stellar artist lineups more than makeup for these minor hiccups.
ADDRESS: 205 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K9, Canada
CONTACT INFO: +1 403-294-9494|[email protected]
5. Skunkworks Distillery
Skunkworks is not just about crafting high-quality moonshine and serving delectable smoked BBQ, they also have a flair for live music and events. This combination provides a holistic experience, where patrons can savor signature cocktails accompanied by the soothing tunes of live music. Their artistic lounge, available for events, is a testament to their commitment to provide a relaxing ambiance. With both indoor and outdoor music options, Skunkworks caters to all preferences. What stands out is their dedication to uplifting budding artists, offering a platform for those who are less mainstream but immensely talented. Their fully equipped studio, available for band rehearsals and recordings, further emphasizes their devotion to Calgary’s music scene.
While the distillery experience might have disappointed a few, their live music sessions and cocktails consistently hit the right note.
ADDRESS: 4009 4 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W4, Canada
CONTACT INFO:+1 403-404-2024|[email protected]
6. Cornerstone Music Cafe
Cornerstone Music Cafe is more than just a traditional music studio. Since its establishment in 1989, it has expanded its offerings to become a hub of live music and culinary delights in Calgary. This dual-purpose venue allows guests to indulge in their caffeine fix while soaking in the sounds of local artists.
For those waiting on their children’s music lessons or just passing by for a meal, the cafe promises a soothing experience. Their menu spans across multiple cuisines, from Italian to Thai, ensuring there’s something for every palate. Moreover, they prioritize inclusivity with their range of dietary options, be it gluten-free, low-carb, vegan, or vegetarian.
However, a few patrons have noted minor hiccups in service due to limited staffing. This sometimes results in longer waiting times or slow order processing. But the redeeming quality? The ambiance and live music, which make these small inconveniences seem trivial.
On the whole, whether you’re there to hone your musical skills, support local musicians, or just enjoy a bite to eat, Cornerstone Music Cafe doesn’t disappoint. Plus, with no charge for the live music, it’s a deal that’s hard to resist.
ADDRESS: 14919 Deer Ridge Dr. SE #139, Calgary, AB T2J 7C4, Canada
CONTACT INFO: Phone: 403-278-3070|[email protected]
CUSTOMER REVIEWS: Here is what people have to say about Cornerstone Music Cafe:
7. Calgary House Concert
Calgary House Concerts is renowned for hosting some of the best live music venue performances in the city. They’ve been a staple for local artists, especially since health restrictions came into play.
But even before these health constraints, Calgary House Concerts has been known for bringing together world-class artists and audiences to create memorable musical experiences since 2012. And, to our delight, they’re not slowing down anytime soon with their focus on local artist lineups.
They’re proactive about updating their website with information on upcoming performances – from show dates and times to ticket prices and other amenities. And a big plus in our book? Their fees include food, all at a reasonable flat rate of $20. Many of their performances are open to everyone, making it a perfect family outing.
In terms of venue capacity, Calgary House Concerts can hold up to a whopping 750 people for each show. It’s spacious enough to accommodate a large audience while still maintaining the intimate feel of each concert.
The consistent selling out of their tickets indicates their popularity and high demand in the area. And honestly, who can blame the audience? With fair admission prices, top-notch music, and delightful food, they’ve got all the elements for an unforgettable evening.
ADDRESS: 3344 Boulton Rd NW
CONTACT DETAILS: +1 403-605-4177|[email protected]
8. Murrieta’s West Coast Bar & Grill
Murrieta’s West Coast Bar & Grill is recognized in Calgary not only for its sumptuous cuisine and choice wines but also for hosting live bands on particular nights. The establishment frequently shines a spotlight on the city’s most promising local musicians.
The restaurant offers an upscale atmosphere, ideal for a sophisticated rendezvous with friends, complemented by fine dining and beverages. And of course, the occasional singalong to enhance the evening ambiance.
For those seeking the full experience, we recommend visiting on Fridays and Saturdays. These nights come alive with the melodies of live bands in the renowned Murrieta’s Lounge, starting at 10:00 PM. Note, there’s a $10 cover charge for these musical nights.
Regular updates about the musical acts are available on their official website. Additionally, for those interested in private events, the restaurant is open for bookings, and arranging for live music during such events might be possible. Yet, potential clients have occasionally faced challenges securing the band of their choice due to scheduling conflicts.
All things considered, with its atmospheric charm perfect for savoring a diverse gastronomic range while tuning into live tunes, Murrieta’s West Coast Bar and Grill rightly finds its place on our list.
ADDRESS: 808 1 St SW #200, Calgary, AB, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS: (403) 269 7707|[email protected]
9. Palomino Smokehouse
If your ideal Friday night involves savory BBQ, a cozy space with a full bar, and captivating live music, then Palomino Smokehouse should be on your list.
While they don’t always host live bands, when they do, it promises a memorable evening. This is largely attributed to their Palomino Smokehouse Showroom, designed to hold large audiences for independent live music events.
Upon our visit to their showroom, we were immediately taken by the atmosphere, perfect for lively nights out. It’s worth mentioning, however, that they don’t offer fixed seating or reserved tables. If you want a prime spot, arriving early is key. But the silver lining is, if you’re considering their space for private events, they’re flexible with seating arrangements and table setups.
The music and setting are spot-on, but the venue’s ventilation could use improvement. If it weren’t for their outstanding performances and delectable food, we might think twice about returning for a live music night.
Moreover, they excel in customer convenience. Details like ticket pricing, band information, start times, and more are readily accessible on their website and social media channels.
WEBSITE: Palomino Smokehouse Website
ADDRESS: 109 7 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3E6, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS: (403) 206-1564
10. The StainGlass Social
If you’re a fan of a live music venue but prefer virtual performances, The StainGlass Social has you covered. Established in 2020 during a time when in-person shows were limited, this platform specializes in delivering online live music experiences, with a particular focus on country music productions.
The StainGlass Social aspires to become a cultural hub for country music performances in Calgary. When you tune in to their virtual shows, you can expect to enjoy American folk music. What sets them apart is their commitment to supporting local charities. Their debut performance was made possible through donations from their generous viewers, with proceeds going to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society and the Alpha House Society.
While some may prefer in-person shows, The StainGlass Social offers the convenience of reliving their performances through recordings available on their website. As they continue to grow, we anticipate that they will receive more positive feedback, especially when they introduce in-person live shows to their repertoire.
WEBSITE: The StainGlass Social