Nfld. & Labrador

Confederation Hill promoter to 'take serious look' at future festivals

The promoter behind last weekend's Confederation Hill Music Festival said there is definitely a chance his company may hold other concerts on the site.
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      The promoter behind last weekend's Confederation Hill Music Festival said there is definitely a chance his company may hold other concerts on the site.

      Pete Quinton of Mighty Quinton Promotions said about 15,000 people braved the cold to attend the show with headliners Rod Stewart and the Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday.

      He said he's been getting mostly positive feedback, but there were a few glitches — including Blue Rodeo not making it because of flight cancellations, the failure of one of the on-stage screens and problems with a portable washroom. 

      The promoter for the first ever Confederation Hill Music Festival said the event was generally a success. (Facebook)

      However, Quinton said setbacks like that are nothing unusual for an outdoor concert, especially given it was the first one.

      As for the site itself, Quinton is not ruling out staging another concert.

      "If we do it again, maybe we would move the stage a little bit this way, a little bit that way," he said.

      "We're going to really dissect it now that we're out of there, talk to the city and look at if we wanted to do this again, what we would do. If everybody's happy with it, we'll see where we go."

      Big name needed to bring big crowds

      Quinton said setting up infrastructure for such an event is not cheap — even just the fencing to cordon off the area was close to $10,000.

      He said with expenses like that, people should expect any future lineup to involve a big name, as it is the only way promoters could draw in enough people to cover the cost.

      "You've got the Red Hot Chili Peppers, you've got Bruce Springsteen," he said. "You've got a number of acts that could come in here and really blow the doors off it."

      Temperatures were low, but spirits were high Saturday afternoon as the first acts took the stage for the first-ever Confederation Hill Music Festival. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

      He said now that it's all said and done, the impression he gets from people's comments is that such a summer festival is long overdue in St. John's.

      "A lot of people are saying they hope it becomes an annual event," he said.

      "It's right in the centre of town, people don't have to travel, we cleared the place out in a couple of minutes. People could go home in their own bed or go downtown for a drink after and whatnot."

      Saturday's Confederation Hill concert fell on the same date as the Salmon Festival in Grand Falls-WIndsor, although it was the first to pick a date. 

      This year's Salmon Festival, with John Fogerty as the headliner, drew a smaller crowd than organizers were hoping to attract.  

      Quinton was sympathetic. "It's too bad. They're a great bunch of guys," he said, adding that Fogerty had appeared recently in the province. "That may have affected them a little bit." 

      St. John's mayor supports annual concert

      St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said he would "wholeheartedly" support making the Confederation Hill concert an annual event, adding it had a positive impact on the city.

      "The bars, the restaurants, the hotels, the recreational facilities—they all did very well," O'Keefe said.

      "It was positive in terms of the economy, it was positive in terms of the profile of the city, and from what I can gather, Rod Stewart and his entourage all had a terrific time here."

      However, O'Keefe said that the city would not get involved with planning future concerts of this sort. It is not in its mandate, he said, and there is always an element of risk.

      O'Keefe said that even though the concert took place at the same time as the Salmon Festival, the concerts will not affect the relationship between St. John's and Grand Falls-Windsor.

      "This was a private promoter who took the risk of bringing Rod Stewart to St. John's. If he made money, he made money, if he lost money, he lost money," said O'Keefe, adding the city's role was limited to dealing with issues like traffic control. 

      "Who are we to say, 'No, you can't have a concert?' There was no competition between Grand Falls-Windsor and the City of St. John's."

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