Studio Bell admission free during Calgary Stampede

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, will reopen its doors on Canada Day with free admission offered through July 25 with reserved tickets. (file)

National Music Centre (NMC) will be extending opening hours at Studio Bell and offering free admission courtesy of ATB for the 10 days of the Calgary Stampede, officials announced Friday.

This year's Stampede runs July 9-18 and Studio Bell will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"The additional hours will give music fans more opportunities to visit NMC’s country-themed textiles and artifacts and the Homegrown Country exhibition," read a release.

"The exhibition that originally launched in 2019, showcases some of Canada’s top country talents and the pioneers who paved the way for today’s rising stars."

Homegrown Country features audio, images, and country couture from the Hall of Fame collection, including Hank Snow’s “Nudie Suit,” and other performance outfits from Lucille Starr, k.d. lang, and Gordie Tapp.

Other highlights include Wilf Carter’s cowboy boots and saddle, and instruments from artists like Paul Brandt and Dick Damron.

"Visitors will learn about the history of Canada’s country music scene while dancing inside an immersive “barn dance” experience featuring a full-sized barn and video performances from Calgary musicians The Polyjesters and Terra Hazelton," read a release.

"Guests of all ages can also try their hand at crafting a country song or decorating an outfit for the stage.

"The Idols & Icons gallery on the fifth floor has also been "country-fied" with dazzling stage wear from Earl Heywood, Colleen Peterson, The Mercey Brothers, Carrol Baker, Myrna Lorrie, and Shania Twain."

Busker performances will also go at 1 p.m. daily featuring country-pop duo Belle Cabin (July 9 and 17), roots-rocker Marcus Trummer (July 10 and 14), and bluesy rock 'n' roll troubadour Matt Blais (July 11, 15, 16 and 18).

“You don’t want to miss Studio Bell as part of your Stampede experience,” said NMC president and CEO Andrew Mosker.

“Reconnect with the outstanding Homegrown Country exhibition that celebrates the achievements of many of Canada’s finest country artists. Then cross the street to visit the reigning CCMA-winning Country Club of the Year, the King Eddy. There is so much for country music fans to explore at Studio Bell—and we’re located just 600 metres from Stampede Park.”

NMC will be using a timed-ticketing system, so tickets must be booked in advance and arrivals must be on time.

Those without pre-booked tickets will not be guaranteed entry at their preferred time.