City's events development officer planning for big year

Dave Stewart
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Major concert, visits from governor general, big sporting events on 2014 calendar

Wayne Long, events development officer for the City of Charlottetown, says 2014 will be busy with dozens of major events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference as well as major conference and sporting events.

The city of Charlottetown is going to be party central in 2014 and the city's events development officer is dishing on some of the details.

First up, plans are in the works for a major concert at the Charlottetown Event Grounds in late August although Wayne Long isn't saying much about this big event.

The concert would serve as the grand finale for what is being called Founders' Week, one of dozens of events built around celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.

The Guardian has learned that well-known Canadian concert promoter Donald Tarlton, chairman of the Donald K. Donald Group of Companies, has been awarded the contract to bring in some big names.

Tarlton is working with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), an American worldwide sporting and music entertainment company, to supply the Charlottetown show with entertainment.

Names like Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Arcade Fire and Bryan Adams have been floated as possible headliners but no artist has been signed. An announcement could come by early February.

As for the concert, Long, who also sits on the P.E.I. 2014 Inc. board, would only say there is lots of talk about it.

"There's lots of rumour about potential musical or cultural events,'' Long says. "Details will arise out of those (rumours) in the near future.''

Long had much more to say about other big things happening in 2014. Natal Day, a staple event in Charlottetown's calendar is taking a break and will be replaced for the coming year only with an event that centres on 1864 in Charlottetown, a celebration of culture and heritage, which will run for several days.

Long says the city has received funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage to host a number of events, one of which is Quebec Day that will feature a visit from Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume.

Governor General David Johnston plans on dropping by, along with every lieutenant-governor across Canada for a special conference in Charlottetown.

Invitations have also been extended to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as the Royal Family.

Long is also busy in his role as events development officer bringing other events to the capital, events that don't always grab headlines but still generate economic activity for Charlottetown.

In fact, the city spends approximately $250,000 each year on events development and hosting. Long spends much of his time each year on the road. That costs the city about $50,000. The city says that investment generates millions of economic activity by filling up hotel rooms and restaurants.

That time on the road means Charlottetown will host 500 delegates in February for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference. It also helps lure these events for the coming year: Softball Canada's annual general meeting; the under-14 Canadian Soccer Association national championships; the Canadian senior men's fastpitch championships; and the CIS men's university soccer championships. That's just a glimpse at what is coming.

Charlottetown and Ville de Quebec will also be announcing a 2014 partnership in February.

One day Long might be attending a conference of professionals in the U.S. before heading to Ottawa on a plane to attend a conference involving national sporting organizations.

"One of the keys is being in the marketplace and yes, it does cost money. You can't do anything in today's world without being able to invest.''

Since Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee was first elected, one of his pillars has been attracting events to the city.

"We know that event attraction is important to a small city such as ours as event hosting supports our business community, adds to the quality of life of our residents and creates awareness of all that our city has to offer,'' Lee said.

"Our success to is due, in large part, to our investment in this area and the important role our events development officer has on constantly being out in the marketplace if we are to be noticed.''

Organizations: Anschutz Entertainment Group, Donald K. Donald Group of Companies, Department of Canadian Heritage Royal Family.Long Federation of Canadian Municipalities Canadian Soccer Association

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Quebec City, Canada U.S. Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • HuH
    December 30, 2013 - 11:58

    What's wrong with having a talent show with local special needs kids? I'm sure folks would pay top dollar to see them. That is more a reflection of PEI.

  • Pete
    December 30, 2013 - 10:06

    People who are upset about the prize of a trip to Cuba seem to overlooking the fact that this has nothing to do with the City of Charlottetown or even the Province of P.E.I. - it is an initiative of the Charlottetown Airport Authority. It is always good to get one's facts straight before posting critical comments.

    • HuH
      December 30, 2013 - 15:16

      This is madness? Must we bring sinners from Sin city to preform? We need more family entertainment! A puppet show, whittling contest, scripture reading! We don't need quality entertainment just good old PEI Christian values.

  • 2014 Hipe
    December 30, 2013 - 08:29

    Trip to Cuba ? That's a joke in itself . Honestly none of this interests me Nor upsets me .P.E.I is just trying to pretend Its a Big City once more . I would of like to see this amount of money used for The QEH and the sad snow removal thing going on .But bottom Line these people are trying there best to create something for Islanders and off shore people to enjoy and boost tourism. Outside concerts are hit and miss duo to Weather and to many nights in a row . Dave Carver brought the big acts Guys ,then he gets shot down for reason after to do more ,why ?

  • Pete
    December 30, 2013 - 08:12

    And let us not forget that the ECMA's, the best week of music that can be had in the Atlantic provinces, will be happening in April.

  • new year 2014
    December 29, 2013 - 14:31

    With an excellent opportunity to get tourists to come to PEI, I am frustrated to see "win a trip to Cuba" at the 2014 New Years celebration. Could we not have given out tickets and gift cards to events throughout the year and kept revenue here? No, because even 2014 event planners can't find anything to keep people on the Island in he New Year. They would have been better off giving one way trips West for the workers.

    • intobed
      December 30, 2013 - 00:06

      Absolutely. Perhaps a prize package could have consisted of tickets to many of the special events happening here on PEI in 2014. There are many good events that most Islanders cannot afford to attend, that are held to bring tourists. What a prize for some average Islander families to go to these!

  • The Observer from Stratford
    December 29, 2013 - 14:11

    PEI rejected Confederation in 1867. Why is this conference which led nowhere for PEI getting even a mention in 2014? As for bringing in big names for a concert, it would be a disaster. Remember this is one of the only places in the entire world where the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil bombed. I can't think of a bigger embarrassment for any city than that (Well maybe Rob Ford).

    • huh
      December 29, 2013 - 17:52

      Led nowhere? We are a member of confederation aren't we? But it doesn't matter. Its more about a tourism marketing angle then anything else. And why assume a concert would be a disaster? You are cherry-picking when you reference Cirque (which, contrary to your statement, has had its failures outside of Charlottetown). There have been plenty of shows that have been successful. Festival of Lights and Aerosmith quickly come to mind.

    • don
      December 30, 2013 - 07:45

      this event is more for ghiz so he can be a BIG LITTLE BOY BULLY. and for the mayor of the want to be capital of canada. surprise to come.

  • intobed
    December 29, 2013 - 13:26

    The tourism operators may do well, as will the restaurants in Charlottetown, but the rest of us will be on the hook for the millions of dollars spent on this fiasco. Another year older, and deeper in debt. Enjoy it while you can; soon this wild out-of-control spending will come to an end, and PEI will be in a serious no win situation.

    • Jim MacDonald
      December 29, 2013 - 20:58

      intobed: Do you NOT realize that hotel, restaurants, shops, etc. pay substantial taxes too? It takes investment to generate investment ten fold. It is very obvious that you have little business sense.

    • don
      December 30, 2013 - 05:18

      it would be nice if the rest of PEI to boycott ch'town till ghiz and the mayor wakes up and finds out with out the rest of PEI ch'town is nothing. and this childish wording of the CAPITAL. how often do you hear Ottawa saying the capital of Canada? ch'town was a dump 100 years ago and has never changed. the streets are good for horse and cart not cars that's why snow removal is so hard. but i guess the mayor has to make it look good by saying the capital as it is really not Superior to the rest of PEI. but time will tell when ch'town finds out they are not as good as the rest of PEI.

  • don
    December 29, 2013 - 12:50

    i hate to say it but the CAPITAL CITY of canada must be the center of everything on PEI if not the mayor will cry. think back to when ghiz moved some of d.o.h. to western PEI.

    • Bill Murray
      December 29, 2013 - 23:18

      Don, you know as much about history as everything else you comment on - you know nothing. In case you don't know, the 1864 conference was held in Charlottetown - not Summerside or Souris. Celebrating the Fathers of Confederation Conference in Summerside or any place other than Charlottetown is as dumb an idea as holding the Calgary Stampede in Vancouver. I have been reading your inane posts for a long time now and I know you are a hateful little man who likes nothing better than to stir the pot with your posts. You are a troll of the dirtiest and meanest kind. Not to mention a life long Tory judging by your long and nonsensical rants against the Liberals in your many other posts..

  • Way (ne) Short
    December 29, 2013 - 12:23

    After chasing the crew from Tourism Charlottetown out the city is back in the concert biz again. If any of the names we see rumored happen this will be a big flop. Celine: Tantrum when she was going to play in Halifax. Shania is a Vegas act and barely relevant these days. Aracade played U2 in Moncton and isn't a headline show. Bryan Adams barely filled credit union place so that's a flop in the making. This is another Summerside fiasco in the making but different in that the Donald will show up with an act, but the city won't fill it. But hey, Wayne long gets to play in the big leagues again and rub elboes with former celebrities.

    • huh
      December 29, 2013 - 13:17

      So a Las Vegas act isn't good enough for Charlottetown? Your point isn't entirely clear to me. It seems your goal, for whatever reason, is to simply take shots at Wayne Long.

    • Ben Flood
      December 29, 2013 - 16:13

      I sense jealously (Way(ne) Short. Have some respect for those trying to do some common good for our community.

    • Confused
      December 29, 2013 - 16:30

      Way(ne) Short: I am confused about your comments. From this story, I gather that for a city and province that economically relies quite heavy on tourism and the dollars it generates, Mr. Long and the mayor are doing what they have to in order to get their share of the market. Tourist don't just send money to a city to deposit into their economy with taking a trip there. If you take the events away, along with the conferences, concerts, sports and close your doors to tourist ... Who is going to support our businesses that create jobs and put money in our pockets. PEI/Charlottetown has no industry to truly rely on. It is easy to be a critic when you don't understand something. I say good on Mr. Long for trying to make our city better and give us options for things to do with our children, families and friends. As for the concert line-up in August.... I believe the point he was getting at is that it would be Canadian themed. Stop nit-picking and start supporting your community.

    • Kim MacLean
      December 29, 2013 - 16:34

      Well done Mayor Lee and Wayne Long!!!

    • Green with Envy?
      December 29, 2013 - 16:45

      @Way (ne) Short - it appears your New Years resolution should be to dial down the jealousy a bit. It's interesting that you chose to focus on one small piece of the article ... a part that is a) led by PEI 2014 Inc. which last time I checked was at arms length to the Province, not the City and b) wasn't even confirmed to be happening by Wayne Long, he was simply speaking to circulating rumours. Mr. Long's inclusion in this article is due to his ongoing role in the generation of millions of dollars in economic activity for the City on an annual basis through the dozens of sport, culture, and meeting events he works tirelessly to bring to Charlottetown. These dollars allow businesses in the City to grow and prosper, providing much needed employment to Island residents, an increased tax base for things like roads and health care, and the means to allow generous business operators to give back to local causes that undoubtedly end up having a connection to you somewhere along the way. Next time, why not consider thanking Mr. Long for the countless hours he spends away from his family "playing" in these so called "big leagues"; I certainly will be.

  • Bill MacIntosh
    December 29, 2013 - 11:55

    But yet the city cries poor when it to comes to paying for snow clearing.