Calgary

FirstEnergy cancels Calgary Stampede bash amid Alberta's oil downturn

Investment dealer says layoffs and tough economy are forcing it to cancel its annual FirstRowdy bash after a two-decade-long run.

Company will donate $100K to charities focused on helping people hit by the downturn

Investment dealer says that, for the first time in two decades, it won't be hosting its annual FirstRowdy bash this July. 2:47

One of the biggest events on the Calgary Stampede's party circuit won't be going ahead this year.

Investment dealer FirstEnergy Capital says that, for the first time in two decades, it won't be hosting its annual FirstRowdy bash this July.

Executive chairman Jim Davidson said the company did not feel a party would "resonate well" given the tough economic environment and high unemployment in the Calgary.

The $400,000 annual cost of throwing the party also played a factor, he added.

In past years, the party has been headlined by big-name acts like the Barenaked Ladies.

FirstEnergy to donate $100K to charity

Davidson said the "iconic," "feel-good" and "much-loved" event will be missed, and added that other corporations are also being forced to make these tough decisions. 

"We felt though that what we could do is continue to donate to the charities that would have received the funds from the event, but do it ourselves," Davidson said.

In lieu of FirstRowdy, they say FirstEnergy will be donating a total of $100,000 to four charities that are focused on helping people in need as a result of the economic downturn.

Stampede-week parties are often viewed as a barometer of the economic climate in Calgary, with hosts spending big when times are good and pulling back when they're not.

Davidson said he expects this year's Stampede to "be a little more sober," but does not doubt that the city will bounce back from the downturn.

"The people in Calgary have a lot of depth to them," he said.

"We are Calgarians. We are Albertans. We'll get through this, and we will prosper again at some point in time," he said.

"The Stampede spirit will still be there."

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News Calgary

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