Thursday, August 25, 2016

Country Thunder Calgary

I’m pleased to see, on Sunday morning, how the Saturday part of the weekend Country Thunder Calgary music festival got a two-page spread in the Calgary Sun. The photographs were by Mike Drew, the guy who does the excellent ‘drive Alberta farm roads-and-photograph-nature’ columns.

Our festival was like the festival in Arizona. Again the big stage with extended runway flanked by huge TV screens and a giant blow up drink can. Again that pair, the self-described “Indian and White Man,” who did the interstitial talking. This time the two did not ask us to sing the anthem, or share words of appreciation for our servicemen and first responders. I wonder if they just knew, or if someone warned them, that Canadians do not express their patriotism the same way. I saw no one wearing the sort of T-shirts I described in my essay American Country Patriots, archived April 2016, after the festival in Arizona. There are only a few Country Thunders in North America, and the pair spoke of being to them all.

What was the same at both festivals I attended was the love flowing among we rednecks, we trailer-trash, we excited lovers of music. In the V.I.P. section were brown folding chairs. Again we sat right at the stage fence, so my buddy Mathew in his wheelchair could see. I counted three different smiling people saying they would set aside a space next day for Mathew and I. (and two of his relatives) I also counted one person help me put my sweater on, one person help with the zipper to my buddy’s pack as I was reaching to it on the back of his chair, and, as I was digging into the Matt’s pack from standing behind him, two friendly pats on my bum.

The sister-in-law that drove our handi-van home observed with some heat how so many ladies dressed “scandalously,” as in “…cleavage, and you could see their bum.” I assured her, “It was the same in Arizona.” I don’t exactly know the psychology of those ladies, which means I guess I’ll never be a great writer. I remember a U.S. entertainment writer being mystified at how the (nearly) women-only crowd for the opening night of the movie (from the TV series) Sex and the City dressed so revealing, with no men to impress. I guess he won’t write the Great American Novel either.

Our Cowtown daily attendance was sold out at 17,500. The Sun said the bugs for lineups and things were noticeably fixed between Friday and Saturday.

Someday I’ll learn to shout “Whoo-hoo!” just like everybody else. For now, I will say that even a repressed Star Trek fan like me had a good time. As an even more repressed fellow from Austria said, “I’ll be back.”

Sean Crawford


~As I said back in April to a commenter, I was surprised that so few “Americans” (U.S. citizens) clicked on my American Country Patriots. But slowly the hits have added up: Going forward to now, late August, none have had as many cumulative hits, and going back in time, the first piece with more readers was in March, The Madness of Michael Moore, and then nothing greater until January.

~Come to think of it, all I saw were "persons of whiteness," as in "caucasians," just like you would see in a trailer court.  The only "foreigners" I met were a nice young couple from Blackburn Lancashire who used my camera to photograph Mathew and I. 

This could be partly because the Minister for immigration is no longer looking for the classic "farmers in sheepskin coats" but is encouraging new Canadians and refugees to come to the cities, not to the western countryside.


  1. It sounds like you had a great time. Although I am a rock and roll lover, I have fond memories of growing up in the country where my father's friends would come over for a night with their "geetars" and "banjos" and we'd have ourselves a hootenanny. It's a shame that most immigrants find themselves settled in the cities. Our country folk have a lot of heart and a lot to offer our new citizens.

  2. Part of what makes home-made music so nice is that folks don't worry about whether they are good enough for national prime time—they just enjoy themselves.