One of Kitchener’s hotspots for country music is closing its doors.

Stampede Corral owner Andrew Mackay said in a Facebook post that the bar’s last day of activity will be June 16.

In the post, he said he had been unable to come to terms with the owner of the bar’s Stirling Avenue home on a new lease.

“This is very sad news for all of us but I particularly feel bad for the current staff, the bands that play there and of course for the customers,” he wrote.

Stampede Corral

In addition to drinks and dancing, the Stampede Corral is well known for its live music. Local musicians say its regular open mic nights made it the only place for up-and-coming country artists to hone their skills in front of a large crowd.

“If you want to get into the country music scene … there was really no place but here. This is literally it,” said drummer Jason Holzcherer.

“Every young musician has to have a place they play all the time to gain their experience. For me, this was the place. I was here all the time.”

Stampede Corral

James Cameron started playing at the Stamp – as it is affectionately called by just about all its patrons – almost a decade ago, when he was 17. He was introduced to the bar by the Bareback Riders, who have been a regular presence there for much longer.

“I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without playing (the Stamp),” he said Monday.

Cameron estimates that he has played at the Stampede Corral hundreds of times, sometimes as often as four times in one week. Like other musicians, he’s concerned about finding a new home for the local country crowd.

“I don’t know too many people that aren’t upset about it,” he said.

The Stampede Corral opened in 1983. Mackay purchased it in 1999.

With reporting by Natalie van Rooy