I spent last weekend in Moncton, Halifax’ so called arch rival. I was up there for New Brunswick Music Week. I took my kids, did a panel and a ran a workshop, went to Crystal Palace, ate at the Crowne Plaza. We had a lovely time.
A dominant meme in Halifax is that Moncton is outpacing Halifax economically, culturally, and most importantly, in the rare commodity of “can do spirit”.
The usual suspects in the pro-development at all costs camp love to push this button, but a surprising number of people who I should think know better are starting to blurt this out too.
With all respect to my gracious hosts in Moncton, it is a really nicely put together town, but it is not a big city. The mainstreet is four stop lights long. While Main Street is great, and there is a bit of build up on St George and of course Mountain Road, this is basically a town about the size of Dartmouth, with a couple suburbs tacked on.
Moncton is great, but Halifax needs to be looking at the cities we are trying to become, cities in the Regina, Winnipeg, Quebec range, and stop worrying good old Moncton.
Moncton started all this concert socialism. Moncton put up a million bucks for the Rolling Stones in an attempt to jump start the Magnetic Hill site as a national concert venue.
This audacious move triggered Halifax’ knee jerk response, deeply seated in our nonsensical inferiority complex, and the government funding taps opened wide.
Sadly for Moncton and Halifax, we have been completely outclassed with what can only be called the idiocy of Mayor and Council of Summerside PEI, who have reportedly invested $1.2 million in a finders fee to some unknown California promoter. What for? To secure a large band capable of drawing 20,000 people. Not money for the artist, but money as a finders fee.
This amount, which gentle reader, amounts to a $60.00 per ticket expense if 20,000 tickets are really sold, or $83 per man, woman and child in Summerside.
This well considered investment was condemned by none other than Riley O’Connor, chairman of Live Nation Canada, the Canadian arm of the worlds largest concert promoter. In part he said “That’s a load of hokum. The economic spillover is marginal at best. It’s not long-term investment. It’s short-term sort of buzz factor and it has no lasting economic affect whatsoever.”
What. The. Heck?
Tomorrow, the concluding installment in our saga on concert promotion.