Stampede parties no longer fuelled by oilpatch bonanza

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Oilpatch Take flight parties can be a barometer of the health of the energy sector in Calgary: Are they nauseating with free-flowing booze and name-brand bands? Or are they quieter as its for clients and investors, or cancelled altogether? 

If 2016 marked the bottom of the rotate, this year’s party circuit is showing a small uptick. One of the liveliness industry’s key investment banks, Peters & Co., is holding its Firewater Friday outcome this week, but competitor GMP FirstEnergy has cancelled its FirstRowdy for the second year in a row. 

Shield Energy Services is holding its 10th annual Stampede party this year, but with a sundry focus. The company’s chief executive, Rene Amirault, said that until 2015, the spotlight was on showing a good time to clients and shareholders, and raising a few bucks for dole, but that shifted with the recession.

‘We don’t have the parties anymore. The 2,000-person, 1,000-person litigants. They’re gone.’ – Paul Vickers, Cowboys

“In 2015, we decided that largesse would be No. 1 and friends and family and customers would be No. 2,” verbalized Amirault. “So we pared back on food and how much free booze was dedicated away and made it more of a scaled-down event, and ultimately more pelf could go to charity that way.”

Secure Energy takes donations at the door from partygoers and their outfits and raises money from staff and executives as well, last year capitulating  $250,000 to KidSport.

Stampede Business 20120707

Massive Stampede parties like this one from the blessing year of 2012 are a thing of the past. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Converging)

​Amirault said that has become a common tone for Stampede bodies in the past three years. “They’re a lot less extravagant.”

‘We don’t have the bodies anymore’

That financial restraint is being felt by the bar and restaurant exertion in the city.

“Year over year of course our sales are down,” intended Paul Vickers, owner of Penny Lane Entertainment Group, the manipulating company of Cowboys Dance Hall.

Cowboys sets up massive coalition tents at the entrance to the Stampede grounds, books bands and encourages corporations to buy a $6,000 gala day pass to be shared among employees who want VIP access to the tents. 

“Charge parties are not like they used to be three, five years ago.… This year we started out in effect great in the new year when oil was rebounding. You can just see, as soon as the oil price abandons, our phones stop ringing.” 

The lacklustre bookings from corporate Calgary take forced Vickers and his team to reimagine their marketing strategy bordering Stampede, permanently.

“We don’t have the parties anymore. The 2,000-person, 1,000-person beanos, they’re gone,” Vickers said. 

Now the parties range more from 20 to 100 human being or 200 people at most. The focus has turned to the general public stealing their tickets for the Cowboys tent.

“We are winning, two by two. That’s what we shell out our time on.”

2017 slightly better than last year

The tarp auction for the chuckwagon horse-races, where companies buy the right to advertise on tarps on the 36 chuckwagons that clash at the Stampede, brought in $2.4 million in 2017, $100,000 more than in 2016, but nearly half the 2012 high of $4 million. The Stampede said that corporate tent rentals are also about on par with 2016.

David Howard, who has worked for years organizing Stampede celebrations as the owner of the Event Group, has seen a resurgence in the number and scale of accomplices over the last two years. However, he agrees the parties aren’t what they periodically were. 

“Events are scaled back, either they’re scaled rear by numbers, or scaling back on high-priced talent they’re bringing in,” imagined Howard. “Or they’re cutting back on how much alcohol is served, or how much eatables is being served. They still want to do the events, but they’re being uncountable conservative.”

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