National Music Centre and Calgary Stampede team up for Grandstand Show Exhibition

June 29, 2018


2013 Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show: Century 2 costumes worn by The Young Canadians. Photo credit: Marlo Hayden-Luck.

See the ingenuity and craftsmanship behind some of the incredible showpiece costumes featured as part of “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the Calgary Stampede.

From now until July 16, visit Studio Bell home of the National Music Centre, to see a new exhibition in partnership with the Calgary Stampede, which highlights some of the elaborate pieces worn by members of The Young Canadians during the Grandstand Show, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018.

This new temporary exhibition features six costumes, including a dazzling set of sequin encrusted costumes and a towering horse headpiece worn in 2013. Looking at the costumes one can only imagine how these outfits would help play into the musical story of the Grandstand Show and the magic illustrated on stage, as well as the skill and tenacity young performers would need to perform while negotiating the size and weight of some of the larger pieces.

Indeed, these costumes offer a whole new appreciation for the performers, designers, and everyone involved in the spectacle of the Grandstand Show, which is presented nightly and dazzles an audience of over 180,000 guests over the 10 days of the Calgary Stampede.

“Something that’s really remarkable about the pieces is that they are designed to give the wow factor to spectators in the furthest seat in the stadium,” said Claire Neily, Collections and Conservation Manager at NMC. “However, when you look up close at the pieces, no detail has been missed as they truly are finished to the last degree.”

Another set of outfits from a 2016 Grandstand Show uses LED lighting to enhance a waterfall effect. It’s a remarkable example of innovative costume design. By incorporating new technologies year after year, the Grandstand Show’s costume designers continue to push the limits of what is possible.


2016 Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show: Grand Spectacular costumes enhanced with LED lighting. Photo credit: Marlo Hayden-Luck.

“It’s clear these costumes are not being recycled year over year, but instead are truly being reinvented,” said Neily. “We hope that visitors will enjoy this up-close look at the Stampede’s Grandstand Show and be inspired to go check out even more wonderful stage costumes from the National Music Centre’s collection at Studio Bell.”

The Grandstand Show Exhibition runs until July 16 in Canada Music Square on Studio Bell’s main floor, which is free to the public.

Want to experience two of Calgary’s iconic entertainment destinations for one awesome price? For $139 per package, you can receive a Calgary Stampede evening show ticket, commemorative program and admission to Studio Bell. Get your package here.

About the Author

Marlo Hayden-Luck

Marlo is NMC’s Summer Communications Assistant who is currently studying at Dalhousie University. You can find her at the lake when she’s not searching for the best brunch spot or sushi restaurants in downtown Calgary.

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