The week-long entertainment venue operated in affiliation with the IAAF World Track and Field Championships set aside the night of Aug. 7 for Native performers. A good-sized crowd had a chance to see and hear some of Alberta's better musical talent.
Rita Coolidge topped off a three-hour show that featured mostly country music. Coolidge performed after a long list of Albertans had made their appearance on the outdoor stage at Kinsmen Park.
Edmonton-born Metis singer Jess Lee and the Golden Spiritwind Band were the first act, appearing after the show started with a grand entry by traditional plains powwow dancers who were accompanied by the River Cree Singers.
Lee, who picked up a Juno Award album of the year nomination in 1996 for Sacred Ground, performed four original songs, including fan favorite, The Bingo Song.
The Creeland Dancers, a group of young Metis jiggers from Saskatchewan, followed Lee.
Then Nathan Cunningham showed off his powerful singing voice by covering a couple of Garth Brooks tunes. Cunningham was followed by the "Blackfoot singin' Cowboy" Eldon Weaselchild.
Weaselchild noted the size of the crowd.
"Geez, it looks like we've got an Indian version of Woodstock," he said. "Red-stock, I guess."
He delighted the crowd with his idea of the perfect country song, incorporating mamma, dogs, pick up trucks, prison and other familiar themes in his own extra verse of the country standard, You Don't have to Call Me Darling, Darling, as the Homer Poitras Band ably followed his lead.
Two established Native recording artists rounded out the evening: Alberta's Priscilla Morin and Saskatchewan's Lorrie Church.
The event was attended by Senator Thelma Chalifoux and actor Tom Jackson as well as senior executives of the Royal Bank, the event's corporate sponsor.