CALGARY — The Calgary Stampede is expected to go ahead this summer, but the country music star initially pegged to headline the main stage won't be taking part.
Paul Brandt says he won't be performing at the world-renowned rodeo and fair if it goes ahead in July.
The Calgary musician says in a statement that he looks forward to returning to stages everywhere — including the Stampede — when the time and opportunity is right.
Stampede officials say plans are for a scaled-down event with a priority on safety.
There are no plans to hold chuckwagon races as competitors have been on a long layoff due to COVID-19.
Brandt headlined the grandstand show during the Stampede's centennial year in 2012 and was set for a repeat performance last year before the pandemic forced organizers to cancel it.
The plan was for Brandt to come back for the Stampede's return this summer.
"I have had a positive and long-standing partnership with the Calgary Stampede throughout my career," Brandt said in the emailed statement.
"Like many musicians, when it comes to my performances, it is always about the fans, and creating the best possible experience for them."
The Stampede has become synonymous for some Albertans with a return to normal life. Premier Jason Kenney has often pointed to the event as a symbol of the province's victory over COVID-19.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said there would still be distancing rules and other changes to keep the event safe for everyone.
Nenshi, who is on the Stampede's board, has said it would be easier if it took place in August, but added "the reward outweighs the risk."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021.
The Canadian Press