Concert promoter Andre Hudon says it took a year and a bit of convincing to lure country superstar Shania Twain to Charlottetown.
The president and CEO of Donald K. Donald says two factors swayed the five-time Grammy Award winner — it was in Charlottetown and it was a special show to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 that led to Confederation.
“She is not touring. This is a special event, an anniversary celebration and that’s what appealed to her,’’ Hudon said following a press conference on Wednesday that confirmed Twain is coming to Charlottetown.
“She wasn’t looking for things to do,’’ said Debra Rathwell, senior vice-president of AEG Live, one of the world’s leading entertainment companies, “but this appealed to her.’’
In a prepared statement, Twain says “I am looking forward to returning to Atlantic Canada after 15 years and playing Charlottetown and P.E.I. for the first time,’’ Twain said. “I’m so excited to participate in this very special anniversary event.’’
Indeed, Twain hasn’t played a single show in Atlantic Canada since March 13, 1999 at the Moncton Coliseum.
“It’s been a year in the making, not only to get (Twain) involved (but) getting the city, getting 2014, getting the site, because the site has never held an event of this nature,’’ Hudon said.
Twain, who hasn’t released a studio album since 2002’s Up! is still a big ticket. She has two shows scheduled in July at the Calgary Saddledome and both sold out in minutes. She’s in the midst of a two-year run in Las Vegas.
The show takes place on Saturday, Aug. 30 at the Charlottetown Event Grounds during Founders’ Week so the concert will actually take place on the same week the Fathers of Confederation were meeting in town 150 years ago.
Based on parameters set out by provincial fire marshal Dave Rossiter and Charlottetown fire chief Winstan Bryan, ticket sales are being capped at 28,000. Those tickets are $89.50 for general admission and $179.50 for reserved grandstand seating. Those prices include taxes.
Premier Robert Ghiz confirmed the province is contributing $250,000 through the 2014 fund.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said the show isn’t costing city residents one penny.
“Best part is the taxpayers of Charlottetown are not contributing any funds to the event. We will provide in-kind services, similar to what we would do for any other event in the city,’’ Lee said, noting that there will be additional costs incurred by the police department.
“Obviously (Twain) is one of the biggest names out there (and the fact that she’s) coming to small city of 35,000 people speaks volumes about what this city is all about.’’
Wayne Long, events development officer for the city, said it’s a real coup, especially over the Labour Day weekend when tourism traffic is traditionally slower.
“Without a doubt, an event of this caliber is going to create substantial economic tourism and cultural prosperity,’’ Long said, noting that 2014 will be a year full of celebrations and events.
Ghiz calls the concert “a once in a generation opportunity’’.
“What better way to celebrate this great historical event than hosting a world-class concert featuring one of the most successful musicians of all time,’’ the premier said.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 7 at 10 a.m. They'll be available at Eastlink Centre and online at www.shaniaPEI.ca.