Big Red Music Festival ticket sales strong
Organizers of the Big Red Music Festival for the Canada Day weekend in Charlottetown are reporting strong ticket sales.
The City of Charlottetown is hoping for a return to the popularity of the Festival of Lights in terms of a tourism boost. Those concerts drew thousands of fans to Charlottetown on Canada Day, but also led to complaints about rowdy, out of control crowds in the downtown.
The festival was relaunched in 2010 as the more family-friendly Summerfest, but that event lost money. Last year the organization of the festival was passed on to the same group doing the Cavendish Beach Festival.
The Canada Day weekend festival was relaunched once more, and organizer Jeff Squires told CBC News this year's lineup — featuring Great Big Sea, Hedley and Ludacris — is attracting interest.
"Obviously the weather is a factor. It's a new event and we'll see how it shakes down next week, but we're very encouraged with regards to the off-Island ticket buyers right now," said Squires.
"P.E.I. is that place to come as long as there's stuff to do, so we have to continue to create that activity."
Wayne Long, events development officer with the City of Charlottetown, is hoping for further good news.
"It's our ultimate goal to get back to where we came from in the heyday of the Festival of the Lights," said Long.
"A lot has changed since then, not only in organizations within the city, but the sheer challenge of the tourism industry with the dollar and the gas all kinds of things from that perspective. I would say that this year."
Long is hoping for between 5,000 and 7,000 people a night at the festival.
The Big Red Festival starts on Friday at the new Charlottetown Event Grounds with three nights of concerts.