Tonight marks Commonwealth Bar & Stage’s fifth year in Calgary and it is showing no signs of slowing down. The “uncommon bar, for common people” (Commonwealth’s signature slogan) is celebrating their anniversary with a weeklong worth of festivities.

Over the past five years, Commonwealth has been one of the most popular hot spots for club goers proven by consistent line-ups stretching down the block every weekend. Their success can be attributed to an invested staff working for a common goal.


“Commonwealth has been a team effort from ownership on down since day one. We’re super lucky to have assembled a team of like minded people that genuinely care about making Commonwealth a positive and inclusive place,” says Colin Canning, the venue’s marketing manager. “People have come and gone, but the vibe has always been the same.”

Not only are their resident club nights a hit, Commonwealth has also been host to a plethora of big name acts such as Majid Jordan, Z-Trip, A Tribe Called Red, Grandtheft, Peaches, DJ Maseo of De La Soul, Action Bronson, Ekali, Hermitude, Humans, and the hometown heroes themselves, Smalltown DJs.

“For me personally, the best show we had was the flood relief Sled Island party in 2013. We opened on the Sunday and people and bands just kept volunteering to play here, or bus tables, or donate money,” says Canning. “It was the busiest day we’ve ever had, like 20 bands played and we ended up raising over $12,000 for the Red Cross. Calgary rules. But also, James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) DJing here was so great, Constantines was an amazing night and also getting to host hip-hop legends like Maseo, Pharcyde and Ali Shaheed Muhammad is memorable.”


One third of Saturday’s “Modern Vintage” DJs, Heebz (Brynn Collingridge), who has been with the venue since its inception, describes his experience at Commonwealth as, “a place where people can hear music that they don’t hear at other places, but at the same time it still being accessible for a big crowd.”

He praises the Smalltown DJs for their vision in knowing “what is cool in the city” and injecting that into the Commonwealth culture.

“You look at five years for club life and I mean it’s a big deal, especially for a club that big. I think a lot of it has to do with the local DJs that make it busy every Friday and Saturday,” says Collingridge.

The celebrations begin tonight with Commonwealth’s newest weekly venture, “What a Time” with Teddy Celebration and special guests, veteran DJs and owners of the venue itself, Smalltown Pete and DJ Phatty.

“10@10”, ran by Beni Johnson (MC/Hip-Hop arts and lifestyle curator) and co., will go down on Thursday, coming off their own five-year anniversary celebration.


“World Famous Fridays” kicks off the weekend with Disoriential upstairs and Yung Nino in the basement. On Saturday, Heebz, Ivan Rankic, and Roy LT host five years of “Modern Vintage” and the weekend ends with a bang on Sunday with Canada’s very own Keys N Krates. Last but not least, the grand finale of the weeklong celebration ends with a Wednesday night show welcoming Highkicks, Miesha & The Spanks, Tiny Shrines, and Denim Machine, presented by PBR.

“A big thank you (to) everyone who waits in line every Saturday and comes down regularly,” adds Collingridge. “We’re so lucky to be able to do what we do. It really is because of the people of Calgary.”

Colin Canning shares Commonwealth’s plan for the near future: “In the next five years we’re going to keep doing what we love: trying to bring the best shows to Calgary we can and throw the best Wednesday/Friday/Saturday parties every week.”

For event listings, tickets, and additional information visit

Written by Shaleen 

Photos courtesy of Michael Benz

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.