Stampede City Sessions: An Austin-Influenced Live Music TV Show

How Lorne and Candace Webber's trip to Los Angeles led to a successful television concept show here in Calgary



Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds

Photo courtesy of Stampede City Sessions

For Lorne and Candace Webber, a trip to Los Angeles in the fall of 2010 turned into a project the size of Texas. 

Well, more like Austin. 

In California, the Webbers met up with their friend Kenny Aronoff, a well-known rock ’n’ roll drummer, to discuss the possibility that he might  play at the opening of the Webber Academy Performing Arts Centre, a 500-seat theatre at the Calgary private school founded by Lorne’s father, Neil Webber. 

It was Aronoff who proposed the idea of a live-music TV show filmed at the Performing Arts Centre. With that, Stampede City Sessions (SCS) was born.

Modelled after Austin City Limits, the American public television series that debuted in 1976, Stampede City Sessions features emerging and established artists from all music genres, performing in front of a studio audience for broadcast on Shaw TV.  

Artists who have appeared on SCS so far include Grammy award-winners Roseanne Cash and Alannah Myles, La La Brooks (of 1960s group The Crystals), as well as Mark Chesnutt, Devin Cuddy, Jenn Beaupre, Ladies of the Canyon and The Young Folk.

Lorne sees SCS as a way for emerging artists to gain greater recognition, citing Australian band The Kin, who appeared on the show in April 2013 and went on to be a supporting act for pop superstar Pink. “These names wouldn’t sell out the Saddledome or the Jubilee Auditorium, but, musically, they’re on par with the artists who play those venues,” he says. 

Adds Candace: “It’s great to see these artists get their first kick at TV. You come to one show and you’re hooked.” 

Want an idea of what Stampede City Sessions are?

Check out some of the best performances that have made it to the stage.

SCS Best Of from Stampede City Sessions on Vimeo.

The next Stampede City Sessions on July 18 features Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. The Webber Academy Performing Arts Centre is at 1515 93 St. S.W. For information, visit stampedecitysessions.com.

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