Numbers game casts shadow on big concert

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P.E.I. 2014 released this image of the musical lineup for Charlottetown's free Canada Day concert.

P.E.I. 2014’s ticket plans for July 1 party are raising some questions

So, you are planning a super cool summer party and aren’t sure how many people will be attending. Such a conundrum must rank right up there as one of a host’s worst fears.

But, ah ha, there’s one old tried and true method to find out — send out a bunch of invitations and see how many people are interested. And, to make your invite even more enticing, tell your guests they don’t have to bring anything but themselves — no cash or other goodies are required.

Such must have been the thought process with P.E.I. 2014 Inc. officials when it came to the big July 1 Canada Day concert. After all, they had three of the event’s four key ingredients all taken care of.

Organizers have a great venue at the Charlottetown Event Grounds on the city’s beautiful waterfront. The concert also features a star-studded lineup. P.E.I.’s golden girl, two-time Olympic gold medalist Heather Moyse, will be co-hosting the show, along with musician Roch Voisine. Voisine is also scheduled to perform, as are some of the biggest names in Canadian music, including the Barenaked Ladies, Tegan and Sara, Classified, George Canyon and David Myles. And, the pièce de résistance is the event is free.

The only variable, an important one, is how many hopped-up, flag-waving, music-loving, patriotic Canadians will be on hand to party.

To help gauge interest, P.E.I. 2014 Inc. decided to offer up 10,000 free tickets on its website. But in sending out the invitations, or free passes, the 2014 folks may have created a monster. Many people, on P.E.I. and off, seem unhappy with how the free ticket process has been rolled out. A number of people have left complaints on 2014 Inc.’s Facebook page.

For starters, last Friday, just minutes before free concert passes for the concert were to be available online, the ticket site went down. The website was one of several across the country that was hacked. Callers to the site were taken to a pornography website instead of the web page to order Canada Day concert tickets. However, the ticket-issuing portion of the website was not affected so all 10,000 advance passes were reserved within a couple of hours.

However, hope is not lost to the ticketless when it comes to attending the concert. Five thousand more passes will be available at the gate on July 1.

But in spite of the tickets being devoured quickly online, what do we really know about attendance at the July 1 show? An obvious question is, will all 10,000 ticketholders actually show up? After all, when you don’t pay for a ticket it is a lot easier to decide not to use it. The ticket didn’t cost you anything, so it’s no biggie if you don’t use it.

Will some of the free tickets end up being scalped or sold in some nefarious other way? That’s possible, but then the illegal sale of tickets has been going on for a long time.

One of the more important questions is will all the Islanders who want to attend actually get the chance to? It would be truly unfortunate if people stayed home because they didn’t think there was room on the concert site.

It is understandable that concert organizers would want to get a handle on how many people may attend the July 1 event. But the old-fashioned method of whoever shows up gets in, up to the allowable number, might have been the best method. As it stands, some Islanders are worried about being able to see the concert when all they should be doing is praying for good weather.

Organizations: Barenaked Ladies, Islanders

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Fred
    June 06, 2014 - 09:54

    I heard the 2014 dollars were being used to pain the Confederation Bridge red...any truth to that?

  • Ryan
    June 06, 2014 - 09:08

    What's the story about 2014 money being used to again increase purses at the Charlottetown horse track and to build a new million dollar barn for horsemen?

  • P***ing Away Dollars
    June 05, 2014 - 19:23

    Any truth to the rumor that PEI 2014 has paid a TORONTO-BASED event manager (salary & lodging) to be on the Island for the summer at OUR expense to oversee the bulk of the major 2014 events? I don't know what is worse...that the money is being spent at all or that PEI 2014 doesn't feel an Island (or even Maritime) firm could handle the job. Entire event is a complete waste of hard-earned taxpayers' dollars.