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L.A. Beat

Whoop Up Days to feature Big Sugar and Emerson Drive plus lots of local talent

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There is some Big news for this year’s Whoop Up days, set for Aug. 20-25 at Exhibition Park. Big Sugar will be headlining an excellent week of live music which also includes  up and coming country star Kyle McKearney and Canadian country stars Emerson Drive who  are winding down their  “One For the Road” farewell  tour by closing out Whoop Up Days on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Cody Hall Playing whoopUp Days theme Grow up Western at the Whoop Up Days 2024 launch. Photo by Richard Amery

 There are also a variety of different local acts slated to play the  Original 16 Stage, which will be again in the middle of the midway.


“The original 16 stage  will  be in the middle of the midway again, except a lot bigger,” said Paul Kingsmith, Lethbridge Exhibition, director of community relations, who is excited about the lineup.

“ We just signed the contract with Big Sugar yesterday at 5 p.m. It ’s part of a move back to booking bigger bands,” he said.

 As always Whoop Up days  is bringing local acts to fill out the live music line up for the five day extravaganza.


 Some of the highlights on  Aug. 20 are Rebel Angels 50s , Coyote Junction and Dj Chris Fakir who closes out each night. Jon Martin and the Lovers , Yukon Yacht Pop princess Paris Pick and neo funk, soul, jazz R and B group Natural 20 will be highlights on Aug. 21.


 Tyson Ray Borsboom  and Brother Bicker Band open for  Kyle McKearney on Thursday, Aug. 22. McKearney is an up and coming country star whose brand new album “ A Travellers A Lament,”  won the CCMA Alternative Country album of the year and and earned Album of the Year honours at the 2024 Country Music Alberta Awards.

Local blues rock trio Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset and  Josh Dillon play before Big Sugar on Friday, Aug. 23.

Justin Sutton and Cody Hall play before Emerson Drive.

 The schedule still has slots open. It can be found at


 The Blackfoot Confederacy will be providing live entertainment every afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

 Cody Hall’s new single “ Grow up Western,”  was selected as the official theme song of Whoop Up Days this year.


“ It’s a really cool partnership,” said Hall, who will be also be playing the Whoop up Days parade with his band  on Aug. 20.

“ I just released the single  in April 15 and had the meeting with Whoop Up Days  right after that,” he said.


“That’s where my head is at with my writing these days,” he said, noting  the song’s theme of growing up in  western Canada, whether you live  the western  agriculture farming/ rodeoing/ ranching lifestyle reflects the theme of Whoop up days as a community  festival geared to everyone, not just people who live the agricultural lifestyle.

“ I recorded an album of acoustic songs with that theme called “ My Parent’s Cabin,” which I hope will be out in time for Whoop up Days,” Hall said.

There are a lot of familiar faces at Whoop Up days including plenty of food trucks, the Wildlife Festival , Extreme Dogs, Jumbo Ears and the Whoop Up Marketplace which will be  in the AgriFood Hub building.

West Coast Amusements return to fill the midway with rides for thrill seekers of all ages.


For a break and a beverage, The Original 16 patio will be open in the Ag Food Hub.

“It’s overlooking Henderson lake. It’s the best view in the city,” Kingsmith said.


“They are bringing over 30 rides including three new rides that have never been seen in Alberta before. So there is something for all thrill seekers,“ Kingsmith said.

 Pro rodeo returns to Exhibition Park Aug. 22-24 with the  relay races closing off each night n the grandstand.

“The rodeo started in 1904 so it predates the Calgary Stampede,” Kingsmith observed. And it’s at the end of August and only a few weeks before the National Finals Rodeo, which draws some of the best hoping to earn enough money to qualify for the NFR in Las Vegas, Dec. 5-14.


Also returning is  the Siksikaitsitapi Princess Pageant on Aug. 20 and Powwow on Aug. 21-22.

Kingsmith noted Whoop Up Days  returns to a paid admission model this year.  


Efforts have been made to ensure it remains an affordable and inclusive experience. Free ‘Til 3 fuelled by Gas King is a new initiative that allows everyone onto the grounds for free from noon to 3 p.m. from Aug. 20-22. Additionally, youth aged 12 and under are always free, while advanced pricing is in effect from now through Aug. 19.

“ That is to make sure the festival remains sustainable and inclusive,” Kingsmith said.


 Tickets are $9.52 general admission:  $7.52 seniors. Youth 12 and under get in for free, in advance through the Whoop Up Days website.

Rodeo tickets are $26.67 in advance ; $24.76 seniors; $13.33 youth.


 Tickets to the pro rodeo also include admission to the grounds and access to the midway and Original 16 stage.

More information  is available at

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 May 2024 16:18 )  
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