Author Archive

About "dave-breakenridge"

Dave Breakenridge is the Online Content Editor of the Calgary Sun - responsible for local news on, original online content, as well as writing a weekly column with a strong focus on Calgary issues. He also maintains the blogs Breaken' it Down and Thirsty Writin' Scoundrels. A nine-year resident of Calgary, he has covered myriad issues at the Calgary Sun as a reporter, including crime, education, health, politics and pop culture. An Edmonton native, he is also a former radio broadcaster and a graduate of Grant MacEwan University's journalism program.

Calgary’s Sled Island festival named to Time magazine list of top festivals in 2014

- April 21st, 2014

Singer Annie Clark of St. Vincent, seen here performing with Dave Grohl (back) after Nirvana was inducted during the 29th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York April 11, 2014, plays Calgary as part of the Sled Island festival in June. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones, Calgary’s Sled Island Festival has Time on their side.

The city’s upstart music and arts festival got a nod from writer Melissa Locker, who compiled the top 14 music festivals in 2014 for

Sled Island is ranked alongside legendary festivals Glastonbury in the U.K. and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

“After the 2013 festival was cancelled due to massive floods that ravaged Alberta, the festival is coming back stronger than ever with a killer line-up curated by Kathleen Hanna, the musician behind Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin,” Locker writes.

“Their new slogan says it all: Nobody rains on our parade.”

While it doesn’t boast the big names in the lineups of other festivals on the list — Outkast, Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age, Bruce Springsteen, and many, many more — Sled Island is chock-full of great alternative and indie acts.

The list includes the Hannah’s band the Julie Ruin, as well as British act Spiritualized, alt-rock forebear Bob Mould, Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, indie darling St. Vincent, post-punk pioneers Mission of Burma, as well as Canadian performers Neko Case and Joel Plaskett Emergency.

The festival runs June 18-22 at more than 30 venues around Calgary.

Here’s a look at some of the lineup highlights:

St. Vincent:

Killer Mike:


Joel Plaskett Emergency:

Bob Mould: 

UPDATED: Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes resigns cabinet — hasn’t officially entered leadership race

- April 7th, 2014

The race has officially begun. Or has it?

Ken Hughes is the first Tory to drop out of cabinet, and is expected to run for leader of the Tory Party.

Hughes, a one-time PC MP and the former chair of Alberta Health Services, was first elected in 2012.

He served as energy minister until last November until he was shuffled over to Municipal Affairs.

Here’s his announcement:


Now that someone has taken the first step, you can expect other tire kickers to follow suit.

While there was speculation any sitting ministers would wait until after the budget to jump in, I was kind of hoping to get things going.

After stirring Alberta legislature watchers into a tizzy, Hughes said at a lunch-hour press conference that he hasn’t entered the race, but he added he would have more to say this week.

I’d be shocked if it wasn’t a leadership bid, but stranger things have happened.

Lethbridge MLA Greg Weadick has been announced as acting municipal affairs minister.

Edmonton’s Interstellar Rodeo a glimpse at Calgary Folk Fest headliners?

- April 2nd, 2014

The Calgary Folk Music Festival doesn’t unveil its lineup for another three weeks, but could we already have a glimpse at some of the headliners?

Organizers for Edmonton’s Interstellar Rodeo on Tuesday showed off the acts who will be gracing the stage at Hawrelak Park July 25-27, the sake weekend tarpies will be hitting Prince’s Island Park in Calgary.

Already, there’s some overlap between the two festivals, with Amos Lee, Andrew Bird and Jason Isabell, Tramples by Turtles and The Lone Bellow playing both (the Calgary Folk fest has been offering weekly artist leaks in advance of the big headliner reveal April 23).

But if last year is any indication, there could be more.  Calgary Folk Fest 2013 headliners Steve Earle, Alabama Sahakes, M. Ward, Kurt Vile and Danny Michel played Edmonton as well, as did band Elliott Brood, who played a well-received Twilight Stage set on Saturday in Calgary.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Feist, Gord Downie or Corb Lund coming to Prince’s Island that weekend. Personally, I’d love to see all three.

Lund has been touring in support of his most recent album, Cabin Fever, a great, gritty collection of songs.

Meanwhile, Feist and Downie are launching some pretty cool sounding projects.

Downie, who you know best as the frontman of Canada’s rock icons The Tragically Hip, is teaming up with The Sadies for Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun.

Calgary-raised Feist has teamed up with duos Snowblink and AroarA to form Hydra, an indie supergroup of sorts.

Both Hydra and the Conquering Sun would be welcome additions to Calgary’s Folk Fest. And Lund puts on a great show every time.

Could organizers be planning on announcing one, or all three? Stay tuned.

Calgary Folk Fest goes July 24-27 at Prince’s Island Park.

In addition to Lee, Isabell, Bird, Trampled By Turtles and The Lone Bellow, already announced artists include Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Basia Bulat, A Tribe Called Red, Jill Barber and Fishbone. Remember Fishbone?

Led Zeppelin comes out on top in Sun straw poll

- March 13th, 2014

Every now and then, when there’s a lull in the newsroom, we can be pretty trivially minded.

We try to stump each other with historical quiz questions, check out the latest viral videos, or talk like the record store employees from High Fidelity.

On the subject of music, the question of best debut album came up. Oasis, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses,Van Halen, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Velvet Underground all got mention in the newsroom, and then it was suggested I put it out to our Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

There was a good variety of response, but two stood out from the rest.

Here are the Top 5, as picked by you:

1.Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin

2. Appetite for Destruction, Guns N’ Roses

3. Boston, Boston

4. Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix Experience

5. Ten, Pearl Jam

I’d rank the Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam and Hendrix debuts in my Top 10.

The other 7? Here they are, in no particular order.

Entroducing …, DJ Shadow

Definitely Maybe, Oasis

Weezer (Blue Album), Weezer

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Clan

Funeral, Arcade Fire

My Aim is True, Elvis Costello

Dummy, Portishead

Honourable mentions to The Sex Pistols, Velvet Undergound, Massive Attack and Foo Fighters.

Even if the Alberta Tories dump Alison Redford, they’re in a bit of a pinch

- March 13th, 2014

The Alberta Tory government has been getting a but of a rough ride of late, largely thanks to the travel exploits of Premier Alison Redford.

There have been other issues plaguing the government, including mounting debt, and contentious labour legislation, but the travel issue has helped drag down the premier’s — and the party’s — approval numbers.

Even with Redford’s announcement that she paid back the cash, the political damage could be done.

With reports nearly 20 MLAs were ready to jump ship over the travel issue, it’s not clear whether the party will want to face voters with Redford as leader, despite a ringing 77% endorsement last fall.

But a couple of glaring issues could put the brakes on any potential palace coup.


To run an effective campaign in two years against an emboldened opposition, the Tories are going to need cash. A lot of cash. And while they may be able to rely on some big donors late in the game, they’ll need to head into the capmaign with a considerable war chest.

Recent stories in the media detail hundreds of thousands in party debt after the last leadership contest (less than three years ago) and the 2012 campaign. And there are also concerns about party fundraising and building a new Legacy Fund.

While a leadership contest could energize the party base, it could also tap the well dry and pose challenges for a full-blown election campaign not long after.  Right now, there are roughly two years until an election (based on the premier’s fixed election window). If there are people in the party that want Redford gone, waiting around may not help their cause.

They don’t need a bloodletting when they’re trying to get their financial act together.


Let’s just say a caucus revolt forces the premier out. What next? Looking at Redford’s cabinet, is there a premier-in-waiting in the bunch? Doug Horner and Doug Griffiths both took a run at the job in 2011. While Horner holds high profile as finance minister, and Griffiths is one of the few Tory ministers I don’t think has done a bad job over all, neither seem the man to lead the party into the future.

Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk would need a severe political makeover from attack dog and Twitter quip-slinger to statesman. But he gets good hair points.

Jonathan Denis has been a decent law-and-order representative, though I haven’t always agreed with him. He could make a go at a leadership race, but I don’t know he’d fare well.

Ken Hughes and Fred Horne hold lofty positions, but aren’t the face of renewal.

I’d throw in Diana McQueen and Jeff Johnson, ministers of energy and education, respectively, as possible contenders, but, save for Ed Stelmach, the party hasn’t elected a leader from a rural riding.

There may well be up-and-comers on the PC backbenches, but there’s no one that really stands out.

Outside caucus? Everyone keeps talking up Stephen Mandel, but he’s no spring chicken, and not necessarily known outside Edmonton. However, he has proven he can take an ambitious agenda and run with it.

A lot of people may want to talk up Gary Mar and Jim Dinning as Tory saviours, but for many they’re from a bygone political era. They’d still garner a lot of support, mind you.

Jim Prentice may come up in some circles, but one would imagine, should he return to politics, that he’d be looking at a shot at federal leadership.

Given the party’s recent troubles in the polls, there will be people sharpening their knives.

But the Tory troubles go beyond their leader, and the challenges posed should she leave will be tough to overcome.