Calgary

Scott Thompson's Buddy Cole to headline 33rd High Performance Rodeo

This year’s High Performance Rodeo, the festival’s 33rd, will headline performers like spoken word slam poet Shane Koyczan and The Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson.

25 shows at 16 venues promises ‘really unique experience,’ says new festival producer

Scott Thompson is back with a new one-man show giving character Buddy Cole's take on current affairs. He's headlining the 33rd High Performance Rodeo in Calgary.

This year's High Performance Rodeo, the festival's 33rd iteration, will headline performers like spoken word slam poet Shane Koyczan and The Kids in the Hall's Scott Thompson with a fresh performance of his iconic gay character, Buddy Cole, among a whole lot more, the festival's new producer says.

"Some of the very best live performances from around the world coming to Calgary," is what people can expect, Laurel Green told The Homestretch.

"The High Performance Rodeo features artists from here as well as across Canada and beyond. We've got 25 shows at 16 venues around downtown Calgary for three wild weeks. You can expect the unexpected and to have a lot of fun."

Laurel Green is the new festival producer for this year's High Performance Rodeo. (David Bell/CBC)

Shane Koyczan performs one night only, Jan. 22.

"He's an incredible slam poet who does spoken word," Green said.

Scott Thompson is back with a new one-man show.

"So we're all curious to know what Buddy thinks about the world today."

Carmen Aquirre teaches a live salsa lesson to the audience. They dance on their feet in Broken Tailbone. (Submitted by High Performance Rodeo)

Broken Tailbone by Carmen Aquirre is one to watch, she said.

"So Carmen teaches a live salsa lesson to the audience. They dance on their feet. There's music by an incredible DJ and Carmen tells her story of being raised by a family of Chilean revolutionaries."

This Little Piggie is for music lovers.

"It features local artist Tim Williams, Kris Demeanor, Little Miss Higgens and we call it sort of a Bluegrass dust-bowl opera. It tells you, through some pretty incredible music, a dust-bowl era story, so a great show to grab a drink, bring some friends. It's for anyone that loves folk fest or blues music or wants that kind of energy," Green said.

Toronto-based Indigenous performer Yolanda Bonnell delivers a powerful solo performance in bug. (Submitted by High Performance Rodeo)

Toronto-based Indigenous performer Yolanda Bonnell delivers a powerful solo performance in bug, Green said, and the festival this year has increased Indigenous respect.

"We're very lucky at the rodeo this year to have an Indigenous community liaison with us named Chantal Chagnon. She is ensuring that artists who are traveling to Calgary can be connected with communities here in Treaty 7 and really understand and feel a sense of place and a connection here."

This is Green's first year in the producer seat.

"I've been a rodeo artist in the past and always been attracted to the energy of the festival and the incredible ambition and vibe of what happens when you bring so many artists from so many different places together," she said.

"I am working with an incredible festival team and I feel very lucky to be able to interact with all these artists and support their work as they come to Calgary."

Fun, wild, cutting edge

And the lineup is improved by a lot of voices.

"I work very closely with artistic director Blake Brooker who runs the One Yellow Rabbit ensemble and over the years the ensemble members have really contributed to helping shape the festival," Green said.

"It's very much based in the same spirit as their work which again is a really fun, really wild, a little bit cutting edge, a little bit daring, always unexpected and something unlike anything you've ever seen. It's really for an audience member that wants to come and have a really unique experience."

It's a celebration of arts and culture and includes theatre, music, dance and even poetry. One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo kicks off its 33rd year in just a couple of days. It includes performers from here, across the country and all over the world. Festival producer Laurel Green gave us a preview. 5:37

With files from The Homestretch

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