Town will review Salmon Fest complaints
Overcrowding, lack of water cited by concert-goers
Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins says town officials will review overcrowding and safety concerns raised by concert-goers at this year’s Salmon Festival.
"Were there issues? Yes, there were. Were there some problems? Yes, we had some problems."
But issues arise at "any major concert," Hawkins told CBC News.
"You go to a concert in Moncton, you go to a concert in any major centre, and you’re always going to have some situations that you’ve got to deal with," the mayor said.
"And that’s the whole part of a mega-concert. You’ve got to face those things."
Hawkins stressed that most concert-goers had a fabulous time, with thousands making positive comments.
"Unfortunately, we’re hit with the negative aspects," he said.
"Most of the negative aspects came from the VIP section. So that’s going to be a major area that we will be looking at, and we will determine whether in fact there will ever be another VIP section."
Customers paid a premium for VIP tickets. But many of them complained on social media about overcrowding and shortages of water. Temperatures during the concert exceeded 30 C.
The mayor steered questions about the situation to the show’s promoter, SRO Entertainment.
"I can’t comment on the numbers for the VIP," Hawkins said.
"We don’t control those."
But Hawkins stressed that crowd estimates floating around are "out of whack," and are much higher than the actual attendance.
He says many more people brought lawn chairs than at previous Salmon Festivals, something organizers weren’t expecting. Hawkins said that led to space problems.
Roughly 25,000 people are believed to have attended Saturday’s show.
Hawkins says town officials will carry out a debriefing on the event within the next day or two.
"Everything is not going to always run smoothly. And what we’ve got to try to do, we’ve got to try to find areas that we need to improve on, and we will address that. And that’s part of how we want to promote this."