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Rexall outdoes the ’Dome

Madonna-less and Britney-free Calgary has been missing out on some major live acts, with some opting for Edmonton only as they pass through the province.

Madonna-less and Britney-free Calgary has been missing out on some major live acts, with some opting for Edmonton only as they pass through the province.

The uniquely shaped Saddledome is at least partly to blame for the bypasses, according to Calgary Flames president Ken King.

“We have, from time to time, seen an increase of missed opportunities to house concerts at the Pengrowth Saddledome due to weight restrictions,” King told Metro.

“It’s not the only issue facing us, but it’s increasingly happening more often.”

While King says he would “obviously like to house these big shows,” the city wins some and loses some.

“It’s true some concerts could have chosen both cities … but the shape of the Saddledome or Rexall probably isn’t the only deciding factor,” said Tourism Calgary COO Aldon Wells.
He adds that sometimes other factors such as seating capabilities or hotel availability can also have an impact.

Wells said that while Calgary may have to go without popular acts such as Britney Spears or Madonna, who decided to skip Alberta altogether, they have hosted their fair share of big acts, too.

“In 2008 we had the Juno Awards, which was huge, and in 2009 we have the Tim Hortons Brier and the world ski championships,” he said.

Calgary has also rocked out to the Rolling Stones and U2.

“Calgary has a lot to offer as a city, not just a venue,” Wells added.

While the city of Edmonton is happy to have certain acts performing, officials also look at it as a reward to the entire pro­vince, said Cathy Ennis of Edmonton Economic Development Corp.

“We’re pleased such big acts chose Alberta as a province to come to, not just Edmonton as a city,” she said. “A sold-out venue is a sold-out venue.”

King is hoping the Flames will get a new venue in 2014 when the building’s current lease is up, something NHL commissioner Gary Bettman endorsed when he was in Edmonton last week.

 
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