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Owner, Ironwood Stage & Grill

Over the past 20 years, Pat MacIntyre has become an institution in the live music scene in Calgary. He started booking bands in the early 90’s at the King Henry IV Pub downtown, and is now the proprietor of the Ironwood Stage & Grill, presenting over 400 live music shows a year.

Supporting local bands as well as national and international touring artists throughout the year, the Ironwood has established itself as the premier venue for live music in Western Canada, and has participated as a host venue for the Calgary Folk Festival, the Sled Island Festival, the International Festival of Animated Objects, One Yellow Rabbit High Performance Rodeo, and other notable groups in the thriving arts community.

Located at 1229-9th Ave SE (Inglewood district) with ample public parking nearby, the Ironwood doesn’t “sell tickets” conventionally – instead, they add the show price to your bill at the end of your evening. Due to the popularity and demand of many of their performances, reservations are strongly recommended for shows. Private tables are not always available so table seating is often shared with friends you haven’t met yet…

Curious about his thoughts on the good that came out of these pandemic times? His thoughts on the future of live music? Favourite live music memory, top 3 “desert island” discs & what he loves about jazz? Click the link below and find out! READ ON!

Q: The Ironwood has been extraordinary in surviving as a venue during these pandemic times! What are one or two things that the Ironwood developed during these times that will be implemented moving forward?

PAT: I would say that increasing our profile in the music community by having musicians play in the front room (Ironwindow) while live streaming is one way to remain relevant in people’s musical choices. Another thing that we’ve been doing is starting our evening shows earlier. This allows our customers to get home at a decent hour, especially on weekdays. Overall, I’d say our ability to adapt to any situation and put the provisions in place that make the musicians, our customers and our staff feel safe.

Q: In your opinion, how are things shaping up out there in these “new times” for the future of live music?

PAT: Unfortunately, some venues won’t survive this pandemic. There have always been hurdles in presenting art in general. However, with every hurdle, there is always someone who is to innovate and change the way people attend, listen and perceive the way they enjoy live music. In a way these are exciting times, venues have to look for opportunities to be innovative and change with the times.

Q: Please share with us two of your favourite live music memories – Ironwood and one other.

PAT: I remember having James McMurtry (a hero of mine) being booked for a cold February night after talking at length with his agent trying to convince him that we are too small a club. He showed up with his all star band, loaded in and blew everyone away! That’s good scary!

Another favorite concert experience was my first trip to the Salmon Arm for the Roots & Blues Festival. We were lucky enough to have Peter North give us all access passes. It was a great experience not only for me but I got to enjoy the weekend with my wife and kids from the standpoint that not many people get. If you can give your kids the love of music, there is no bigger gift.

Q: What are your top three “desert island” albums and why?

PAT: Desire by Bob Dylan – A brilliantly written where every song tells a complete story. It’s like a bunch of movies, no need for a movie screen here!

Road To Hell by Chris Rea – With a driving beat and gut-wrenching lyrics. You’re left thinking about the words while still vibrating from his amazing guitar.

Harvest by Neil Young – Neil always has a way of making you run an emotional gamut. It’s hard to pick just one Neil album.

Q: What do you love about jazz?

PAT: I’ve been lucky enough to be embraced by JazzYYC and the jazz community since opening in 2006. The knowledge and comradery they have been kind enough to share with me has really opened my eyes. I am a huge fan and have been lucky to have had some of the greatest players in the world play the stage, a lot of them are right here in Calgary. Get out and support them.

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