Shania Twain concert site wins praise of promoter

Dave Stewart
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Shania Twain performs for a large crowd at the Charlottetown Waterfront Saturday night. The concert was Twain's first in Atlantic Canada in 15 years.

Donald K. Donald CEO eager to return to Charlottetown

The promoter who brought Shania Twain to Charlottetown is game to try again.

Andre Hudon, president and CEO of Montreal-based Donald K. Donald, has nothing but high praise for the Charlottetown Event Grounds.

“I loved the site. I think the site is fantastic,’’ Hudon told The Guardian on Tuesday. “There’s not too many shows that you can say ‘they were flawless’ but I would have to say this one was pretty close to being that.’’

It wasn’t the first time the city has hosted a large outdoor concert. Aerosmith played at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park in July 2007, a show that attracted 30,615 people.

But it was the first time the new event grounds on the waterfront had hosted a large show.

An estimated 23,000 people turned out to see Summerside’s Trinity Bradshaw, Corey Hart and Twain perform.

Hudon said the audience for Saturday’s Twain show could have been slightly bigger.

“There were people from off-Island who would have loved to come to the show but just couldn’t find a hotel room.’’

The city and province has been bustling with activity all summer with a host of 2014-related events.

The city also has the Celebration Zone going on the waterfront, hosted the tall ships this past weekend and hosted a national fastball tournament.

“Hopefully, in the future we’re not going to hit a weekend with so many activities,’’ he said.

That’s right, Hudon is talking about the future, saying he wouldn’t hesitate about bringing more major concerts to the Charlottetown Event Grounds.

“I think if we have the right act at the right time, for sure. It’s a site that we would definitely consider coming back to.’’

Hudon said the event grounds is a perfect venue for 20,000 to 25,000 people but he wouldn’t want to push it much further.

The Guardian asked Andre Hudon, president and CEO of Montreal-based concert promoter Donald K. Donald, what is at the top of his wish list in terms of major concerts: At the top of his list are reunion tours featuring Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

It’s not just the venue he was impressed with. Hudon said the City of Charlottetown and Eastlink Centre were also instrumental in making the show a major success.

“We really and truly enjoyed working with (City Hall) and the people at Eastlink Centre.’’

The venue was built by the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation and is managed and run by Eastlink Centre.

Wayne Long, events development officer with the city, says there were other promoters in attendance to see how things went.

“We’re very fortunate to have this venue,’’ Long said. “In my role as events development officer for the city, I will be working very close with Eastlink Centre to not only grow existing events that we have and attract new and larger events.’’

Long notes the capacity of the venue is a huge plus, along with the fact it’s so close to the downtown area.

Hudon says normally his office gets at least a few negative emails following any concert but is still waiting for the first one from the Twain show.

Long said that bodes well for Charlottetown.

“Because of all the positive experiences that came out of it, I think there is an opportunity for us to engage this particular promoter or other promoters down the road,’’ said Long.

With no major outdoor concerts in Moncton or Halifax this summer (although Aerosmith and Slash are playing Sydney, N.S., on Sept. 12), P.E.I. was certainly the place to be in 2014.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, Charlottetown Area Development

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Charlottetown Driving Park, Iceland Moncton Halifax Sydney

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Recent comments

  • Centsible
    September 04, 2014 - 20:26

    Shania Twain was great; the venue was not! I was in front of the sound booth area, and it was over-packed people who were trampling over everyone else as they pushed their way through the crowd. There were no aisles for people to make their way in and out. I am sure the younger crowd didn't care, and in spite of the official comments, there were lots of people drunk and stoned, with few security people touring the crowd. Cavendish Beach is well organized for a large crowd - this was not. Visibility was poor because there is no slope to the field. Did I mention, Shania was great! There also should be seating available for a reasonable price for older people, and if you are going to pack 24,000 people into such tight quarters, there should be a non-smoking policy. And by the way, Shania's show was fantastic.

  • So Tired
    September 03, 2014 - 18:35

    I am so tired of the whiners and the peanut gallery. The concert was amazing. It was great for our city and province. The return on investment was substantial. Notice how there are only a hand full of nay sayers. Grow up and get on the boat before you drown.

  • Sad Newfie
    September 03, 2014 - 17:44

    My wife & I, as well as a another couple , travelled from Newfoundland to see Shania Twain. We sat up in uncomfortable seats for 9 hours on a ferry . Travelled 6hrs. Waited for 1 1/2 hours to board the Nova Scotia to PEI ferry. Waited in a line up for 1 1/2hrs for the concert gates to open up so we could get close to the stage, only to find out that when we passed in our printed tickets ( that we purchased & downloaded the first hour the tickets went on sale ) we were told because it didn't have a number on it, we had to go aside and wait in a line up ( of 30 -40 people ) to have tickets issue. In the meantime, thousands of people who were behind us in the main line up were all going in past us. Meaning that we were not going to get as close to the stage as we thought. Needless to say , we were very disappointed, and to top it all off, after waiting 20 -25 minutes in that line, we were told that they would now take us all in past the main gate. All I can say is that Shania was so close but yet so far away. Lets hope this doesn't happen again, anywhere, to the fans who are that dedicated.

  • indigo
    September 03, 2014 - 12:39

    @wog- to get a handle on the cost to the taxpayer for such an adventure as this concert is next to impossible because so many hands are in the pie. The $ 250.000 grant came from one place, the promotion of the concert from 2014 and Dept. of Tourism. The venue preparation and closure came the City, along with salaries for umpteen meetings from all sides. Loss of revenue for promotional tickets, taxpayer purchase of tickets for VIPs and on and on it goes. Spin-offs are mostly inflated figures to make a venture look better than it really was, this to justify the salaries and efforts of everybody e.g. the City's events officer. There was a time when the word spin-off was not even invented, a time when people came on vacation because this was a nice place to visit, and reasonably priced. Now people have to be lured to this place, and our people burdened with overwhelming taxes to pay for 'the luring'. Come to think of it, I have not seen Henderson's mug in the paper lately, what gives ---?

  • Thirsty on the Red Isle
    September 03, 2014 - 12:13

    Paul you are dead on my friend. Beer waits were an hour at minimum. You have one shot at getting a beer and just when the concert was getting going and one felt like getting jiggly and busting a move the beer cups ran dry and there was no way in hell I was going to miss anymore of the concert trying to get a beer. Over all the music and show were great but the venue was lacking customer service standards. Thirsty on the Red Isle.

  • harold
    September 03, 2014 - 09:31

    what is wrong with this picture? The taxpayers gave an up front $250.000, Then the City taxpayers provided 'infrastructure assistance (e.g. City employees setting up fences etc. and cleaning up afterwards ) . The venue was provided for through CADC, a taxpayer owned boondoggle, with Rural Infrastructure money no less. Then we learn that the Province purchased 160 tickets to give away for the Premiers and hangers on. It is probably fair to say that a certain numbers of VIP tickets were set aside for promotion and good will purposes as well. The true picture of this and other ' 2014 celebration' events are murky, and disgusting and the taxpayers would do well in punishing Mr. Ghiz in the next election and casting off this tax yoke this man has placed on our shoulders for the last 9 years. ( HST and others)

  • hear, hear
    September 03, 2014 - 09:21

    Next time let the concert pay for itself without any taxpayers money going into it, -- then let us see how wonderful things are, -- let the ticket price reflect the true cost and let the promoters cut the coat to fit the cloth. ---- This is nothing but a taxpayer funded outing and wealth distribution, --- from the poor to the rich, ---- what what to heel as long as they all had fun,----- star and promoters leaving the Province with bags of money, and the bridge forwarding large profits to its off island owners, - and people think this is great , poor sobs --

  • Nancy
    September 03, 2014 - 08:09

    Shania Twain was amazing and her show was well done and very entertaining. The only drawback was the Screens on both sides of the stage were to low and I could not see the stage or the screens. The screens should have been higher so that even if taller people were standing in front of you you could still see the screens. Also there should have been screens back further in the crowd so that those at the back could see. The site could be slanted more.

  • stinky
    September 03, 2014 - 08:00

    So the reason it was not sold out was lack of hotel rooms ?? Still years ago a concert sold 35.000 tickets, - wonder how people found lodging back then, there has certainly been an increase in accommodations since then, ---- something does not add up here??? More B.S. with all this bread and circuses.

    • Many didn't know
      September 03, 2014 - 10:51

      The impression was it was a sellout show & many people didn't know there were still tickets available.

    • Janice Martell
      September 03, 2014 - 11:32

      There was a huge amount of events going on in the area that weekend not just the concert that filled up rooms. People were advertising from off Island for places to camp on private property.

    • Think about it
      September 03, 2014 - 14:02

      More people from PEI went to the concert. They didn't need accomodations.

  • taxpayer
    September 03, 2014 - 07:54

    The man made a fortune. Of course he 'is willing' to come back, - with 1/4 of a million dollars up front from the Province right out of the taxpayers pocket who would not? On top of that, I would like to know what the taxpayers of Charlottetown is paying on make work jobs (those jobs that keeps Clifford in office) putting up and taking down the barriers. Then there is extra police and security costs falling to the taxpayers to pick up the tap for. Too bad we don't have some savvy journalist that could inform us of the whole picture, - we would fall over if we knew.

    • wog
      September 03, 2014 - 08:52

      I actually agree. The cost to the taxpayer should be clear and made available once everything is tallied. Then the public can voice their opinion as to whether it was justified or not. There is however, an economic spinoff to these concerts, so a certain cost is certainly justified... and in terms of getting this particular site an initial marquee show so as to fix any issues and to market to future promoters, I think a certain price needs to be paid on top of that. But what the standard should be going forward, is certainly something that should be measured, weighed and open for debate. Its not like this province has endless resources of cash to play with.

  • jaylyn
    September 03, 2014 - 06:47

    maybe next time he comes, he should be told he is on PEI NOT Halifax........ PEI put ALOT of money into this concert and this concert organizer spent a week here setting up and I am sure touring PEI,only to announce to the crowd that this was Halifax?????????

    • Kate Wells
      September 03, 2014 - 08:01

      jaylyn, he actually said lets make so much noise so they can hear us in Halifax

  • paul
    September 03, 2014 - 06:27

    The show was awesome , However I thought the layout of the grounds was something less then 100% . A few small changes would make a difference . Never did find the beer tent as there was just too many people to push through to get there . All washrooms at the back of the site , down a hill !!!!! From what I was told 1 hr wait for beer and ATM's out of money early in the night . None of these are deal breakers but only small improvments to make the site better . Only my opinion , I am sure there are others.