Concerts will have negative impact on Old Home Week, manager says

Teresa Wright
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Concerns over scheduling conflict between Celebration Zone concerts and Old Home Week raised in the P.E.I. legislature

Opposition MLA James Aylward

The free concerts planned this summer at the 2014 Celebration Zone in Charlottetown could have a major negative impact on Old Home Week, says the manager of the event.

Rayanne Frizzell has written a letter to government officials expressing disappointment and concern over the fact four of the five free concert events scheduled in August as part of the 2014 Celebration Zone are happening during the same week as Old Home Week.

“To have this type of free entertainment offered during our event will be a direct competition and will not be a complement to our event,” Frizell wrote.

“It will have a negative effect on our bottom line financially when people choose free entertainment over paying to come to Old Home Week.”

Her concerns were brought to the floor of the legislature Tuesday.

Opposition tourism critic James Aylward challenged Tourism Minister Robert Henderson on the scheduling conflict between the two festivals.

“Why aren’t you concerned about the negative effects this is going to have on the gate receipts of Old Home Week?” Aylward asked.

“It’s set dates every year, it’s not a secret… I see these concerts taking away from their base clientele of Islanders.”

But Henderson said he does not believe the concerts will have a negative impact on visitors to Old Home Week.  Rather, he argued, it will increase the number of tourists in the downtown.

“(The concerts) are going to attract visitors to Prince Edward Island and those visitors are going to be able to go to Old Home Week,” Henderson said.

“The concerts are only for two or three hours in length, they’re going to have all kinds of opportunity to participate in all the other festivals and events going on in Prince Edward Island.”

But Aylward said he is concerned over the long term viability of the Old Home Week festival when it is forced to compete with free events happening just blocks away.

“Are you content to see a 125-year-old tradition die because your government refuses to support it?” Aylward asked.

He added he does not understand why so many concerts are happening in Charlottetown over this short period of time.

“Why not do some of these concerts in Summerside? Why does it all have to be focused in Charlottetown, especially when you’re competing directly against Old Home Week? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Henderson said organizers were aware of the scheduling overlap, but booking the artists of the caliber of those coming to P.E.I. meant working within their limited availabilities.

He said he firmly believes the concerts will not take revenue away from Old Home Week, especially since the concerts are free.

“Every festival and event in Prince Edward Island would love to have the Celebration Zone within a couple of blocks of their event,” Henderson said.

“It’s going to attract more visitors to that area. It’s a free concert so those people are going to have lots of resources to go to spend at other events that they might take in that are in the area, i.e. in this case, the Old Home Week.”

Nonetheless, Frizzell has asked P.E.I. 2014 to reconsider its schedule of concerts for August.

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Recent comments

  • Not So Rich Guy
    May 07, 2014 - 08:26

    Old home week is getting too expensive I cannot afford to take my family there. What is wrong with this Island equality for all, the rich and the poor. Maybe Mr Alward can explain to my three kids (12,9,8) why they can. Or go to Old Home Week with the rest of their friends. All we do is take in the exhibition a few rides. They charge the admission to get through the gates for this area. Two parents have to pay to watch there kids go on a miracle round how pathetic.

  • Richard Lidstone
    May 07, 2014 - 08:23

    Old Home Week admission prices are very high, and as long as they remain high,people are going to stay away.Admission prices in the $2.00 range would be more than fair. We all know that everyone will spend a lot of money at the fair once inside. Bring on the free concerts !!!!!

    • huh
      May 07, 2014 - 21:51

      funny thing is though, people aren't staying away. Attendance continues to be solid

  • Garth Staples
    May 07, 2014 - 08:14

    Tourism Minister Henderson says the concerts are free. That's what Liberals' think government money is --free! Mr Minister there is no such thing as a free concert if government is picking up the bill. Taxpayers get hoodwinked again by this tax and spend Liberal govt.

  • Colin Wells
    May 07, 2014 - 07:50

    Pretty sure the wizards at the department of Tourism, know the dates of events and are well aware that OHW is the week when the most tourists are on the Island seeing family and attending the races. Maybe Ms Frizzle and her board of the Provincial Ex. will look at the outrageous cost they are charging visitors and workers to go on the exhibition grounds. The Horseman association and Red Shores have discussed having a separate gate with no admission to the races as per usual. Most don't know that the horse folks and Red Shores get nothing from the $10 per person per day charge to go watch the cattle show and be entertained by the Carnies. As for 2014...I have a feeling that it is not going to be the resounding success that DofT thinks it will be. Not too many people talking about it. As per ECMA interivews, most regional folks don't even know what "2014" is about. Talk about history repeating itself. If you know PEI history, most Islanders/Maritimers didn't care about the Conference when it happened, and didn't want to join Canada until we went bankrupt 9 years later, and we were bought into the Confederation as the result of the Feds paying off our debts. Maybe King Steve will repeat that miracle in the Celebration zone?

  • corey
    May 07, 2014 - 07:46

    Here's an idea......why don't you either lower the admission at the gate or scrap it all together! Pretty bad when a family of 4 costs about $30 just to get in and takes 15 mins to walk around the whole thing!!!

  • GonetoBoth
    May 07, 2014 - 06:05

    Aylward, don't be so ridiculous. There is absolutely no comparison between a concert and Old Home Week. I, and lots others, wouldn't set foot on the exhibition grounds if it were free. There is nothing similar between watching a band perform or listening to a performer than walking around a dusty, hot, smelly parking lot where you still have to pay to go on rides and play silly games. There is no competition. Those that want to go to Old Home Week will and those that don't, won't. It doesn't matter if there is a free concert at that time or not. In fact, Old Home Week should be taking advantage of the free concerts as an additional lure to come to PEI during that time.

  • vick
    May 07, 2014 - 05:41

    Old Home Week I am sorry but as you can see from the comments here your event is getting REAL OLD! You have made it unaffordable to the average family on PEI and its been the same ole same ole yr after yr! Nothing new? You can walk in there without a map and find everything in minutes because it was the same rides, same cow, same chicken the yr before and the yr before that all in the same place....the onething that did change is your cost to get in to see WHAT? Do WHAT? Same ole same ole......time to change things up OLE HOME WEEK.....if you all had of been thinking outside the box you could have jumped on this ban wagon and made 2014 old home week tied into the summer celebration maybe bring in a big concert field of the race track a big name artist the list goes on what you all could do there to spruce up old home week! Sorry but I am not interested in any more cow poop I am taking my family to the FREE concert!

    • nitpicker
      May 07, 2014 - 10:15

      @vick: I couldn't agree more.

  • Lisa Smith
    May 07, 2014 - 01:12

    I stopped going to old home week a long time ago its to much money to go to the same event with the same rides every year. Even if the concert wasn't free I'd rather be there then old home week.

  • Aongasha
    May 06, 2014 - 23:28

    OHW has been a rip off for years and gets pricier all the time. Families cannot affort it at all. That's why so many folks don't bother much, unless it's to see the Gold Cup & Saucer on the last night.

  • Sunnyroadz
    May 06, 2014 - 23:23

    Aylward should be ashamed for sticking up for the Old Home Week committee and their blatant outrageous price gouging of Island citizens..They should be concerned, the 2014 celebrations are something everyone on the Island can participate in without worrying if they can make it to their next paycheck..It's a great thing for Island families who need a break, a break from paying ridiculous prices at every place that involves spending family time together. I for one will be taking my kids to the celebration zone all summer, free concerts included. Rayanne Frizzell should have started to worry long ago because everyone I know including myself and my family refused to go to Old Home Week last year and planning the same boycott this year but hopefully bigger. Old Home Week use to be about something way different, spending time together for the week, now it's just a giant money sucking trap. All they care about now is the fact that every family feels the obligatory need to go there once a year and drop $100+..It's a joke and people are catching on, so yes you should worry Rayanne Frizzell

  • Why not have competition?
    May 06, 2014 - 19:08

    What's wrong with having a bit of competition between 2 events? Plenty of events even have multiple shows at a time competing with each other and all it does is give people a choice of what they prefer. Look at the ECMAs we just had. How many venues had shows at the same time, yet every one of them had plenty of people attend. If having another show on at the same time causes you that big a deal, then maybe your event isn't that good in the first place.

  • Craig
    May 06, 2014 - 18:56

    Do the tax payers actually have to pay these clowns for talking about something so stupid? People will decide what they want to see and when!

  • $$$
    May 06, 2014 - 18:52

    The cost to take a family to old home week is deterrent enough. I for one will not set foot on the grounds of Old Home Week. Bring on the concerts!! Least there will be something to do.

  • Craig
    May 06, 2014 - 18:52

    Do the tax payers actually have to pay these clowns for talking about something so stupid? People will decide what they want to see and when!

  • scott
    May 06, 2014 - 18:37

    Aylward and co need to forget this crap of picking stupid things to bring up. Go after the important stuff, like waste, etc. As to Old Home Week, its been dieing a death for years no with exhorbetent admisson at the gate. A free concert might be just what the dr ordered.

    • Garth Staples
      May 07, 2014 - 08:16

      Any FREE concerts are not a waste of taxpayers money???