Pit Stories: Xul's Mudslide Party In Valemount
Band Photo: Xul (?)
Every week we check in with fans and bands from around the world to get their favorite pit and road stories from metal shows.
This week Canadian blackened death metal act Xul shares the following story of a small town suddenly hosting a party as bad weather prevented travel:
We had a mini tour lined up that consisted of Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton shows in the span of 4 days. Living in Vernon (half way between Vancouver and Calgary) we went to Van for our first show. It was an awesome turnout and and a good set. A good start to the tour. We had a day off before we had to head to Calgary so we decided to go back to Vernon and sleep a night in our own beds. There was talk of HWY 1 being closed but we didn't think it was going to be a big deal. We were wrong.
We woke up the next morning early enough to check the weather reports before we headed out. All that was said was that HWY 1 was closed due to mudslides and that there was no timeline for its opening. HWY 1 is a direct route to Calgary. It’s about an 8 hr drive from Vernon. I'd say it would have taken us 9 because we're riding in a short bus that hits a top speed of 90km. It was early in the morning and we had to make a quick decision as we had to be in Calgary that night for a show. We could either go south and take a ferry but there was rumours it was closed due to the extreme weather (we later found out it would have been a horrible idea) or head north and go through Jasper then down from Edmonton to Calgary. We chose to go North.
Along the way we saw a lot of flooding and an insane amount of rain. We were determined to make it to Calgary no matter what. We would have made it just in time for our set. Just when we thought we were actually going to make it, we stopped in a town called Valemount to fill up the bus. The scene we rolled up to was surreal; It was reminiscent of a zombie apocalypse. There were cars parked all over this tiny town, and a line-up of semi trucks that spanned at least 15 km down the highway. There had to be at least 500 people in the span of 2 blocks (at least double the original population of the town). Cars were tightly packed around the few businesses the town had, and the local gas station was stripped of bottled water and toilet paper almost instantly.
We parked our bus at the gas station and made that home base. There was a hotel nearby where we would end up partying that night. There was a mudslide between Valemount and Jasper and it wasn't going to be open till early in the morning. We even considered heading up to Grand Prairie, (5 hours north out of our way) but another mudslide in that direction - as well as the road closing behind us due to congestion - made our decision to spend the night easier.
We made the best of a bad situation and luckily the town had a liquor store. We grabbed two 15 cases of Pilsner and proceeded to drink away our bad luck. We actually ended up selling 6 CDs to various truckers and travelers who loved that there was a band trapped in the town. The roads opened close to 3 AM, but we spent the night as everyone was too inebriated to drive. We awoke to a completely barren town, oil stains and empty beer cans were the only thing that made us believe we hadn’t hallucinated a party in the tiny town of Valemount.
Be sure to check back in again next Tuesday as we share more pit stores.
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