Moncton is emerging as the region's concert hub as other Maritime cities have been left picking up large bills long after major shows have moved on, according to a high-profile promoter.
Donald Tarleton, of Donald K. Donald Promotions and the key promoter behind U2's upcoming Moncton concert, said he considers the city's Magnetic Hill concert site to be the entertainment hub of the Maritimes.
He said the provincial government and the city have pumped money into washrooms, power lines and other amenities on the site instead of giving money up front to promoters.
"By putting it into the venue, it allows us to be able to stage these shows and walk in, in an economical fashion to be able to do the kind of things that we do," he said.
The city has put close to $7 million into the concert site since the Rolling Stones played in 2005, which was the first major act to use the outdoor venue.
Moncton has also welcomed major concerts acts such as Bon Jovi, AC/DC and the Eagles at the site.
However, the city has only recouped about $1 million so far from those investments. As more concerts come to the city, Moncton expects to see a higher return on its investment.
Tarleton said each location in the Maritimes has its advantage.
He said Moncton could attract concert-goers from across Atlantic Canada. Bands, such as U2, like the fact that Halifax is so close to Moncton.
"They could ship all their equipment back to Europe at the end of the tour out of the Halifax port and actually save money from doing it out of New York," he said.
Tarleton said Moncton has also gained a reputation among big acts as the place to end their North American tours with a big lobster party.
The concert organizer said other controversial Maritime concert bookings happened because communities invested their money in the wrong place.
Two Maritime communities have been left picking up the tab for concerts that caused unexpected problems, which he said are primarily the fault of communities relying on concert promoters with little experience in the industry.
"They've gotten themselves into trouble because the people they're doing it with just haven't had the kind of experience. You know young entrepreneurs, who think, 'All I got to do is get myself some money, get some grants, and get some help etc. and do the things,'" Tarleton said.
"Well, it doesn't work like that."
The concert promoter used two recent Maritime examples of concerts that have resulted in significant lawsuits.
Summerside, P.E.I. filed a $1.3 million lawsuit in January over a Michael Jackson concert that never happened.
Meanwhile, taxpayers in Halifax are still fuming over $359,000 in secret payments for a Black Eyed Peas concert in 2010.