The city of Moncton has revealed that last September's momentous Rolling Stones concert went $670,000 over budget.
Ian Fowler, the city's director of community services, told city council Monday evening that organizers had underestimated the costs of everything from policing, medical services and parking to food and cleanup.
The event at Magnetic Hill, which drew between 75,000 and 85,000 concert-goers, was touted as the largest concert in Atlantic Canadian history.
The initial budget for the concert allowed for 60,000 concert-goers, but more than 80,000 fans bought tickets, Fowler said.
In the end, the concert cost Moncton $1.2 million — $670,000 more than expected.
"Not only did the increased crowds cause us additional expenses, they also related to less revenue in some areas," said Fowler. "So, we got hit on both sides. But we did learn, and we now have a site that I think we can strike better deals with."
Fowler told councillors he would do better next time. In addition to attempting to strike better deals with promoters, he vowed not to spend so much on parking, which had been one of several contentious issues raised by those living near the concert site.
Organizers had asked Magnetic Hill neighbours not to use their cars or have guests over on the weekend of the concert, in order to keep roadways free for emergency vehicles and so they could create more than 20,000 pay parking spaces.
The residents reacted in anger and, on the day of the event, only 7,000 paying drivers brought their cars anyway.
Council acknowledged that Fowler and his team missed the mark on the costs for the Stones concert. Councillor Brian Hicks added that next time, there had better not be a deficit.
"We can justify this one. It was a learning experience but it really has to be a one-time, unbudgeted expenditure. We've got to do a better job next time," he said.
Despite the financial loss, Fowler pointed out, the concert could still be considered a success for the city.
Moncton now owns $600,000 worth of special-events equipment and infrastructure for future concerts on Magnetic Hill, he said.
Fowler also echoed Moncton economic development specialist Ben Champoux, who said in December that out-of-town visitors spent $15.3 million in Moncton during the Labour Day weekend show.