A salute to summer!

I had a blast at Union Events' 2015 Chasing Summer Music Festival, held August 7-8 in Calgary, Alberta.

Summer is my favourite season of the year and I absolutely love making the most out of it. This summer has been a particularly memorable one, because I’ve done a lot of fun, exciting things for the first time, as well as enjoyed some of my annual favourite activities. Wanderlust 108, EDC Vegas and Chasing Summer were some of the new events I had the pleasure of attending this year. Add to that the yearly TransAlta Evening Grandstand Show at the Calgary Stampede and this summer has been a smashing good time so far!

My summer started off with participating in Wanderlust 108, which combined a 5k run with yoga and meditation. Me and my friend Erin are seen here gearing up for the start of the event, held in June at Fort Calgary.

First of all, my summer started off with two major accomplishments: Passing the Canadian Public Relations Society's (CPRS) Public Relations Knowledge (PRK) exam, and getting my wisdom teeth taken out! The PRK is a nationally recognized exam that sets recent PR and communications grads apart from the field and demonstrates these grads' competencies as being well-prepared for the world of corporate communications and PR. I am very proud to be among an elite list of individuals who have successfully passed the CPRS' PRK exam. In addition, getting my wisdom teeth taken out was also a major success story, as I had procrastinated for so long and I finally got my act (and courage) together to get those annoying wisdom teeth out. 

With these two hurdles out of the way, I celebrated by participating in Wanderlust 108 in June. Wanderlust 108 is an event that incorporates a 5k run, 90-minute yoga class and guided meditation in the park. Wanderlust 108 travels across major cities each summer and this year marked the first time this fabulous event visited Calgary. Held at Fort Calgary, yoga enthusiasts from around the city were eager to indulge in a day of pleasant running and yoga goodness. Add DJs, food trucks, local vendors and fun, eager participants to the mix and Wanderlust 108 was one yummy treat!

My summer took a bit of a different turn after Wanderlust 108…I was off to Vegas baby! Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is a major electronic music festival that travels around the world. However, the biggest event by far is the annual EDC in Vegas, where hundreds of thousands of EDM fans around the globe gather together for one of the biggest parties in the world.

Not only had I never been to an electronic music festival before, but I had never really experienced Vegas. I had gone to Vegas on a couple of family trips when I was younger, but let’s just say that I never really got the full Vegas experience. Now I was ready! On a side note, this also meant I had to get a new passport as my previous one had expired in 2012….ooops, haha.

I had a blast in Vegas and at EDC! I stayed with my friends at the MGM Signature, which is an extension of the MGM Grand, so it’s basically the same hotel. The pool at MGM Grand is to die for! There’s a lazy river pool that goes on and on for forever. Right before I left for Vegas, the weather was really rainy and miserable in Calgary. To go from the dismal Calgary weather to floating down the MGM Grand lazy river in 40-Celsius weather in Vegas was unreal. Plus, it seemed like everyone in Vegas over EDC weekend (June 19-21) was there for the festival, which meant the atmosphere at the pool, throughout the hotel, on the strip…basically everywhere, was insane!

EDC is a larger than life electrified music festival and carnival!

At EDC, there were so many world-famous artists playing, it was impossible to come close to seeing even half of them. My favourite acts were Above & Beyond, Alesso, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell and Kaskade. My favourite performance? Armin van Buuren for sure! Armin is such as showman and his performance exploded with exhilarating beats and his signature showmanship flair.

My friends and I enjoying the festivities at EDC!

I’m also really glad I watched the Under the Electric Sky documentary before I went to EDC, because it gave me a knowledgeable perspective of things when I went. For example, Under the Electric Sky documents a teenage girl with anxiety that has saved up all her money to travel to EDC, which is pretty much her dream. When she’s there, Above & Beyond brings her onstage and lets her drop a beat and she gets all emotional. I guess they must have asked her to come back again this year, because I saw her doing the exact same thing…and I understood what was going on! 

EDC stands for Electric Daisy Carnival and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a carnival that electrifies all five senses. The heart pumping music is complimented with carnival rides, circus performers and art exhibits. Situated at the Las Vegas Speedway in the middle of the desert, you’re literally in a different world. An electrified world.

Besides EDC, there were so many other fun things to experience in Vegas, such as pool parties, Madame Tussauds' famous Wax Museum, the NY NY rollercoaster and great lounges and restaurants!

My friends Sim (left) and Sylvain (right) and I at the Luxor hotel's Sunday pool party during EDC weekend. 

When I returned home to Calgary, my home city was gearing up for the annual Calgary Stampede and for this former dancer and singer, the words Calgary Stampede instinctively means one major thing to me…the TransAlta Evening Grandstand show. As a member of the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede growing up, the TransAlta Evening Grandstand show was always the highlight of my year, as it was for all the other kids in the performing arts school.

The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede performing in the 2015 Transalta Evening Grandstand Show, "A Canadian Classic".

Produced by Emmy winner Dave Pierce, directed by Brian Foley and choreographed by Foley, Angela Benson and Louise Hradsky, this year’s TransAlta Evening Grandstand show, A Canadian Classic was magnificent! Featuring the Young Canadians under the direction of Angela, and guest starring the Alberta Ballet, A Canadian Classic was a spectacular stage show that brought world-class dance, singing, acrobatics and theatrical brilliance to the Calgary Stampede.  

Me and my pal Julien strike a pose outside the 2015 TransAlta Evening Grandstand show, "Canadian Classic".

The theme this year involved showcasing iconic Canadian culture, and musical selections made famous by Justin Bieber, Shania Twain, Anne Murray, Paul Anka and Corey Hart made up the musical score. One of the highlights for the show for me was watching the breathtaking Alberta Ballet company under the direction of Jean Grand-Maître, perform to Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind.

Me and my friend Madeline horsing around at the 2015 Calgary Stampede, a few hours before the gates officially opened. 

With another Stampede complete, I turned my attention to spending the next few weeks relaxing at the pool and enjoying the amazing weather we were having in Calgary. Then last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Chasing Summer, an electronic musical festival right here in Calgary. I joked around to my friends, saying that Chasing Summer was like EDC, but in the comfort of our own home, haha.

I had a great time at Chasing Summer! I enjoyed watching Tiesto, Kaskade, Dash Berlin, and Afrojack. It was really awesome to see so many music fans gather in Fort Calgary to dance and enjoy EDM together. It was stellar!

My one regret is not getting to see Shakespeare by the Bow’s production of The Tempest, presented by Theatre Calgary. I was supposed to go this Friday, but the rainy weather put a damper on things and I decided not to go. However, I’m hoping to see this year’s Opera in the Village production of The Mikado, presented by Calgary Opera this month. And…my most anticipated event of the summer…Broadway Across Canada’s production of The Lion King. I have tickets for the end of August, and I am beyond thrilled to see the stage production of The Lion King for the first time.

Summer 2015, I salute you!