There was no trophy involved, but the 2011 East Coast Music Awards provided Charlottetown with a big win over the weekend.
The festival, which launched with the city’s regiment band leading a parade to the opening ceremonies Wednesday, and ended with Sunday night’s awards gala, left Charlottetown in a constant state of live music for four days.
The city was expecting to see more than $5 million in economic benefits from the event.
Three-time host chairperson of the event Campbell Webster said the weekend turned out even better than he expected.
Which wasn’t an easy feat to achieve, he added.
“It was a real coming together of the community, just a peaceful party and celebration of our neighbors’ music,” said Webster.
After chairing when Charlottetown hosted the event in 2001 and 2006, Webster said the festival has continued to grow in popularity and quality of music.
“The community embracing of it is continuing to grow.”
While there are no final numbers on attendance, Webster said he estimates about 20,000 music fans made their way through the different venues set up throughout Charlottetown.
With many of those fans coming from other provinces, hotels in Charlottetown were packed for the weekend.
The Delta was the busiest of them all, holding many of the festival’s headline events, including the closing party Sunday night following the awards gala.
General manager Zubair Siddiqi said the hotel succeeded in its goal of making the week a memorable and exciting experience for its guests, many of whom were musicians active in the concerts.
“Feedback I’ve heard from the guests were that they were completely blown away,” said Siddiqi. “And, personally, I was blown away.”
Siddiqi said the weekend’s success was partly due to the hard work of hotel staff.
Employees remained energized throughout the festival, said Siddiqi.
“There were some long hours but at the same time there was so much excitement,” said Siddiqi, who himself could be seen working into some of the late festival nights.
But the festival wasn’t only positive for the hotel, which was near full-capacity Thursday before becoming completely filled with guests Friday and Saturday, said Siddiqi.
Restaurants were also overflowing with patrons. Steve Barbour, owner and operator of Hunter’s Ale House and The Globe said the four-day stretch was quite possibly his busiest ever.
Siddiqi said the event was a huge boost to Charlottetown and the province’s tourism industry, noting that April is usually a downtime before the season picks up.
However, that calm before the storm couldn’t be seen during the 2011 ECMAs, he said.
“The downtown core looked like it was in June or July.”