Break-in at Calgary festival venue shines light on community support

The main venue for the Big Winter Classic music festival was broken into on Tuesday night and over $15,000-worth of equipment was taken one week before the first band was

scheduled to take the stage. Venue manager Kerry Rasmussen said she discovered the break-in when she arrived at the venue Wednesday morning. “When I came in through

the backdoor, I could tell something was up,” Rasmussen said. “There were some clothes on the floor, some hot dog buns, a thing of orange juice… there was just sort of a

trail.” Rasmussen also found a suitcase and bag of prescription pill bottles in the space. Festival organizers are turning a vacant office unit into a pop-up music

venue. Rasmussen said all the volunteer contractors' tools were stolen, along with donated alcohol, festival merchandise and professional stage lights. “As the day

went on it was just like ‘Oh, this is gone too.’ So, a lot of personal things for people that are working in this space,” said Rasmussen. The BIG Winter Classic started in

2014 to create economic value for local businesses during the season that doesn’t typically see many events. Those local businesses are now showing their support for the festival

following the break-in. Video: More than 250 artists and 25 productions at this year’s High Performance Rodeo A crowdfunding page has been set up for the

festival, local bands have offered to play for free, and companies and sponsors have made huge donations to offset some of the event costs in a show of support that is not lost on

festival organizers.