Calgary is Set to Be a Major Player in the Canadian Music Scene

We don’t have to tell you that Canadian musicians are making major headlines these days – and for all the right reasons.

While megastars like Drake, The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber may have relocated south of the border, there’s a new music-focused project that could put Canada in the spotlight like never before. And one that offers another reason to hit up downtown Calgary, whether you already live there or not.

And if you do, life’s about to get a little more exciting.

Scheduled to open its doors in Summer 2016, Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), is set to become a pillar of the arts community, both in Calgary and across the country.

And it’s a pretty big deal.

Photo: George Weber

Photo: George Weber

The $191 million, 160,000 square foot architectural masterpiece will become a must-visit for music lovers around the world, with its education programs, interactive exhibitions, live performances, radio broadcasting facilities, and a large collection of instruments and artifacts.

With the opening of Studio Bell, three Canadian halls of fame will finally have a permanent home: The Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection.

But it’s so much more than that.

Both the up-and-coming and established musicians and producers will appreciate the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. The mobile studio allows musicians to use the same recording gear as legendary acts like the Rolling Stones (naturally), Bob Marley, Lou Reed, and Led Zeppelin, just to name a few. This is just one of three famous recording consoles that are available to participants in NMC’s artist in residence programs.

Furthermore, NMC will offer rental and performance spaces available seven days a week.

NMC’s Artist in Residence program may be reason enough to relocate to Calgary if you’re in need of a little creative inspiration. It provides a one-of-a-kind creative working environment and residency program that’s designed to feed and nurture artistic creativity and technical innovation. It offers artists the

time and space to create new and innovative works using their unique collection of instruments and recording equipment. Applications for residencies are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Perhaps one of the coolest features is that NMC’s collection is a ‘living collection,’ meaning that artists are able to use the historic recording equipment and pieces from their collection to create new works. There is no other place in the world that allows artists to access these types of rare instruments, creating their own piece of history in the process.


The rich history of music in Canada will be preserved at NMC in their collection of over 2,000 rare instruments and artifacts that tell the stories of iconic Canadian musicians and rock n’ roll legends like Glenn Gould, Joni Mitchell, Bobby Curtola, the Guess Who, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Rita MacNeil, Canadian organ inventor Frank Morse Robb, and legendary Vancouver DJ Red Robinson.

As for the exhibitions, they’ll have a rock n’ roll vibe, offering more of a music festival feel, as opposed to that of a stuffy museum. A total of 22 individual exhibition stages will come alive with the sounds, light, and interactive activities of an eclectic range of artist make the space their own.

Finally, with the opening of the NMC comes the resurrection of one of the city’s landmark musical giants, the iconic King Eddy hotel, which is integrated into the building. What’s better after a day of exploring the centre than a little beer and blues?

Basically, NMC is set to be a destination for all Canadians, from young professionals to young families. This is just the first of the growing buzz you’ll hear leading up to the grand opening this summer when the music starts to play.