Skratch Bastid performing at his Birthday party show Friday on Victoria Row. Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
The last show in the Victoria Row concert series won’t be going ahead this weekend after its organizers cancelled it citing a lack of cooperation from the city.
Alex Rice, who produced the series, said the last concert The Sheepdogs played on Aug. 3 was a great show, but a schedule change Charlottetown City Council imposed caused issues.
“The problems that we encountered were with the logistics,” he said.
This was the third year for the series that involved six shows, including five that ran on a 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. schedule.
City council approved that schedule before the series started this year, but in a special meeting held less than two weeks before the Aug. 3 show, four councillors and Mayor Clifford Lee voted to change to an earlier cutoff time. Lee voted to break a tie.
That meant the producers had to start and end the show an hour earlier than planned even though the concert was promoted and tickets sold based on the original timeline.
The main reason given for the change was noise complaints to the city and some councilors.
This weekend was supposed to be the final concert in the series, but on Tuesday afternoon the promoters announced in a Facebook post that the show was cancelled.
Rice said the whole series was based on the 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. schedule after planning and consultations with the community and other people involved, including businesses on Victoria Row.
“Everyone had been consulted and we made a plan,” he said.
When it came to ticket sales for the Aug. 3 concert, Rice said people had lined up to buy them between 10-11 p.m., which was the busiest time for sales during the previous show, but they didn’t purchase any because it ended earlier than expected.
“People didn’t realize this show was over at 11,” he said.
As for this weekend’s concert, the promoters hadn’t announced who the performer would be. Rice said that was because as soon as he announced the act then he would have been contractually obligated to pay them, even if the show was cancelled.
The series was a great event, but without the full support of stakeholders, including businesses and the city, it was too much of a risk to produce that type of concert, he said.
Rice said the time change was the main factor in cancelling the concert, but it also had to do with the fact city council gave initial approval and later reversed that decision. That led to too many challenges adding up, he said.
“It just felt unsurmountable and the number one thing I guess it comes down to is the simple rationale that we just weren’t getting the support from the municipality.”
Although the latest concert has been cancelled, the promoters are meeting with the city next week to discuss the concert series’s future, Rice said.
Coun. Eddie Rice, who represents the area where the concerts were held, was one of the councillors who voted to change the time and said he had received complaints from residents. When asked what he thought about the concert cancellation, Eddie Rice said he couldn’t comment.
“I don’t know anything about it,” he said.
Rice did say he hadn’t received any complaints about the last concert.