Enmax cancelled Blue Rodeo show: sources

Blue Rodeo was set to play the Enmax staff Christmas party for a $70,000 fee before the utility pulled the plug on the event.
Blue Rodeo lead singer Jim Cuddy sings at the Juno awards in St. John's in April. Blue Rodeo was scheduled to play the Enmax Christmas party, according to sources, but the party had been cancelled. ((Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press))

Blue Rodeo was set to play the Enmax staff Christmas party for a $70,000 fee before the public utility pulled the plug on the event.

Sources at Enmax have told CBC News that the Juno Award-winning Canadian rock band was going to provide the entertainment for the party, scheduled for next month at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre.

The sources requested anonymity, based on the sensitive nature of their positions in the company. 

That band was to be paid $70,000, on top of expenses for airfare from Toronto, accommodations, hospitality and shipping equipment, the sources said.

Blue Rodeo's contract specifies a cancellation fee of 50 per cent, but Enmax says the band has waived that fee.

Enmax, a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary, is still responsible for the cancellation fees at the convention centre.

Enmax CEO Gary Holden sent out an email last week to staff advising them that the party was called off because of budget cuts.

Enmax party fee lower than usual

That email came on the heels of a meeting between Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the chairman of the Enmax board of directors, Cliff Fryers.

At that meeting, Nenshi told Fryers he hoped there wouldn't be any more rock star parties paid for by the city-owned utility.

Nenshi had previously voiced his displeasure with the company-sponsored parties Holden had held at his home featuring Tom Cochrane and Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie.

Enmax has declined to comment.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has warned Enmax against hosting more parties featuring rock star entertainment. ((CBC))

Blue Rodeo also played for an Enmax event in 2006.

Music industry sources told CBC News that the Christmas party contract represented a good deal as the band typically charges $85,000 to $95,000 to play corporate events.

These sources also requested anonymity to protect their business interests.