Kiss rocks Salmon Festival crowd

David Newell
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Even in the driving rain, they had explosions and fireworks.

Rock icons Kiss, including founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, did not disappoint throngs of fans that converged on Grand Falls-Windsor for this year’s Salmon Festival concert Saturday night.

After opening acts Fefe Dobson, The Orchestra, Down With Webster and Smashmouth played under sunny skies, clouds moved in as if on cue, but the crowd’s enthusiasm shone through.

The headliners, known for their outlandish makeup and costumes and spectacular pyrotechnics, performed many of their hits, including “Shout It Out Loud,” “Detroit Rock City,” and “Beth”.

Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins said the event was huge for the town.

“Grand Falls-Windsor is a concert centre,” he said.  “We are pretty happy. When you look at the amount of money people will leave in the town, we are happy.”

Simmons’ partner, Newfoundland-born Shannon Tweed, with whom he stars in their reality television show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” accompanied him.

While official numbers are not yet known, estimates put the crowd in excess of 20,000.

Visitors to the town more than doubled its population overnight, and hotel rooms in the central Newfoundland region have been sold out since the event was announced several months ago.

Police reported no major incidents as of the end of the concert, either at the Centennial Field venue or in Grand Falls-Windsor, however overwhelming demand for product in the beer garden at one point in the evening required intervention by security staff and RCMP.

More major acts are expected for future Salmon Festivals, as the town council in Grand Falls-Windsor recently signed a five-year contract with Moncton-based SRO Entertainment to co-ordinate the event.

Organizations: SRO Entertainment

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland, Detroit Rock Grand Falls

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Recent comments

  • Wiggy Field
    July 12, 2011 - 13:53

    All in all a great concert. Sure there were some things that could've be done better. Kudos to labatt for bringing in such great talent this year. Lets hope this encourages other big acts for future salmonfests. As for the negativity, I too have a couple things to point out that could've/should've been avoided. Firstly, saturday morning wasn't when the Town of Grand Falls Windsor found out how many concert goers there would be. Preperation for this many people with concessions was horrible. Very poorly organized. When the RCMP needs to be called for lineup control at a concert, something is wrong. Secondly, why was it necessary to bus a load of women from NB to run the beer tent? Honeslty, is there not enough NL'ers out of work, or willing to volunteer to go to a free concert to see Kiss, but hand out a few beer? Really missed the boat there, and I really cannot understand this. What was the cost of transportation, lodging, and payment to a full busload of people from NB to serve beer? Scandalous. Lastly, I hear they will break ground for a new HOliday Inn in Grand Falls. Thank god, the Mt. Peyton hotel is so rundown. I visited friends in the motel area of the hotel, my oh my. Some of the Kiss crew and roadies were also there and described it as, "The worst accomodations they have ever stayed in, in their history of working with bands." That being said, outside of the former overpass, excluding chalets at Terra Nova, Aspen Brook, or Humber Valley, B&B's or cottages, name a hotel, again, not a cottage or chalet, or B&B, but a hotel that is fit........

  • Barb
    July 12, 2011 - 08:25

    To those people complaining about the beer garden....seriously, did you travel all the way to GFW just to drink beer? I thought people paid the price of the ticket to enjoy the entertainment....after all, isn't that what the concert was all about? I think the beer garden should be eliminated next year and those who want a drunken weekend should stay at home and well....get drunk!

  • Don
    July 11, 2011 - 14:19

    What a show! Great job again Grand Falls-Windsor. The rest of the province can certainly learn from you.....and a record breaking numbers of Herders too. Wahooooo!!!!!

    • rubbberboot
      July 11, 2011 - 15:10

      Yeah, the comments from the people complaining about the beer garden are certainly justified, SRO entertaiment dropped the ball on that one. However, the last hour of the concert certainly trumped all the other "fustrations", what a show, it was incredible, the energy on the field was nothing short of amazing, one of the best shows, EVER!!!!!!!!!

  • Bonzo
    July 11, 2011 - 11:34

    I travelled 5 hours to Grand Falls on Saturday morning and it was worth the drive. Good job to Grand Falls for a job well done. How do you handle 30,000 people? Somebody from the TOWN of GFW should call somebody in the BIG CITY and tell them how to attract a big act. St. John's can only get the bunch who do a "behind on the mortgage tour". See ya next year Grand Falls. I can only imagine who will headline. Ya knows ya gotta step it up a notch.

  • DON
    July 11, 2011 - 11:14

    Typical lame attempt to entice famous performers to come to Newfoundland. Poor planning, lack of adequate supplies of everything. Drunken, rowdy louts and loud music being played in driving rain, sounds like a real good time. I have attended music concerts in Halifax, Moncton, Toronto, Boston and in New York State. Everything went fine. Every time they try to do something in Newfoundland it gets bogged down with poor planning, bad weather and bad management. I bet Tourism Minister Terry French is going to try to put lipstick on a pig and say the concert was beautiful and a big success! They couldn't run a peppermint knob shop around here! It appears that the only reason Gene Simmons brought KISS to Newfoundland in the first place is because his wife Shannon Tweed has some family connections here! I think Gene Simmons has decided to KISS Newfoundland goodbye and he won't be back any time soon!

    • Krystal
      July 11, 2011 - 12:57

      When Kiss played Halifax Rocks two years ago it rained all day and inly cleared when they came on stage, leaving a soaking wet stage. At least the rain held off until they started.Halifax had trouble selling out tickets for a concert last year, at least Kiss got a great turn out here, unlike the bands in Halifax last year.

    • sam
      July 11, 2011 - 13:22

      Well with an attitude like this make any wonder anybody comes to this province. With 25,000 or 30,000 people there are going to be some problems. Suck it up!! And according to most the concert was a success.

  • Christine
    July 11, 2011 - 10:52

    Drove 4 hrs to G.F.W, stayed in a motel with No running water, then spent 3 hrs and 2 Acts trying to get 4 lukewarm beer... later spent 55 mins in line for the bathroom...had 4 beer tickets left stood in line for another 40+ mins when Kiss took stage, crowd in beer line started to get rowdy, pushing, shoving losing their patience with the utter lack of organization...when I get to the bar, the guy tells me now I can only get 2 beverages!!! Did they think I wanted to get back in line for yet another hour to get my last two beer tickets cashed??? Do they think I'll go to another Salmon Fest?? I'll go to Halifax instead....what a poor effort on event planing...the down pouring rain I can take, but the organization was horrible...Thank god Kiss put off a stellar show, they were truly amazing & somehow made this horrible event worth while. Thank you Kiss!!

    • JT
      July 11, 2011 - 14:39

      Hmmm...the common theme of your post seems to be "BEER". Perhaps if you drank less beer, you could have avoided the long lines to buy beer and pee, then you could have enjoyed the performance. Oh, and by the way, maybee the reason for you being limited to 2 beers, was to prevent one of the things you were complaining about, drunken louts ruining the event for those who were interested in the performance.

    July 11, 2011 - 10:27

    We drove 5 hours to get to the concert we had no problem getting parking the concert was a blast i had a great time and would do it again heads up to Grand Falls maybe next time they can put off a concert at the diane whalen soccor complex in paradise

  • Kiss Fan
    July 11, 2011 - 10:08

    We drove 5 hours both ways to see Kiss who put on a fantastic show, but i will never go again, the set up they had for the food and beer stands was horrible. Stand in the line for and hour to get a ticket to get beer, to then leave that line to get in another line to get the beer!While everyone is pushing, passing,no ropes to keep people in order.They could have made twice the money if they had to put in some thought of the set up-When i went to see Kiss in Halifax, it took 5 mins to get a beer,cause they had enough beer tents set up, and they had 50,000 people at that concert!

    • Newfiemissus
      July 11, 2011 - 22:25

      I agree. The beer ticket tent and the beer tent set up was absolutely horrible. We spent so much time in line ups that we really never got the chance to enjoy the concert. Meet alot of people who had many tickets left over but could not get their beverages cause they were only allowed two. I was waiting for a riot to happen. I've been to a few outdoors concerts, even worked in a beer tent in one.. and this was the most chaotic one ever. I also heard the food wasn't that great and overpriced. The website wouldnt give the line up so we missed one good act cause we assume they would come on before KISS. The site said no backpacks so I packed what I could in my pockets. When we went there, there were people with packbacks and even cooler bags. Lastly, I think if concert goers should be able to come and go as they wish off the site. Once you were in, you were in so you had to stay there and buy the over priced drinks, warmed thrice over food. The town of Grand-Falls Windsor would have made alot more money if they had of allowed concert goers to come and go. As of right now, I probably would never go again. If I do, I am NOT going near the beer tent. That was crazy. Some people were groping and others were looking for a fight, let alone the pushing. Security was useless.

  • Mark
    July 11, 2011 - 09:54

    Awesome time in GFW. To Ryans comments about parking: I parked on the $10 lot provided by the town and it was the most organized I have ever seen, lining you up to park and no lineup to get in or out and signage to the TCH once you got out. The concessions and beer lines were brutal later on. I had pizza which was cash only not tickets and there was almost no lineup at all. Prices are as is expected at a festival like that. It is still cheaper than beverages at Disney World. LOL

  • jay
    July 11, 2011 - 09:45

    The food and beverage stands were brutal!!! You would think GFW would have that down after so many concerts but no you had to wait 45 minutes to get a beer plus stand in line waiting to purchase tickets.........think you need some help with the catering aspect of the concert b/c that was a MAJOR turnoff!!!

    • Bobby
      July 11, 2011 - 11:53

      I think everybody should be reminded that the town of GFW was not responsible for the disorganization in the beer tent. As stated in the article above, SRO Entertainment organized the event and were the ones responsible. Hopefully the beer tent is more efficient next year!

  • dave
    July 11, 2011 - 08:19

    Well it seems to me that these folks booking talent in GFW should be the ones booking Mile One.At least they make money on their endevours and don't have to go to council EVERY year to bail them out!.Good job GFW! Mile One take notice,your time is coming, and we the voters will not be impressed.Get your act together,like these good folks inGFW.

    • brad knight
      July 11, 2011 - 09:25

      this is in reference to Dave's comment. mile one has been getting better and better with whom they have been booking ever since the post fog devils era> you wounder why grand falls was able to do this and not someone at mile one. mile one hold what like 8000 people ?? kiss asked for a million dollars to play this show and no promoter would make back all her or her money by putting on a show of this caliber in such a small venue nor would they be able to keep fans happy with the decision of only so many tickets!

  • Ryan
    July 11, 2011 - 08:09

    Parking and signage was extremely unorganized, but the show was an absolute blast!

  • Jon
    July 11, 2011 - 07:49

    Good stuff. Grand Falls-Windsor seems to have gotten their act together and gotten out of the concert promoting business.

    • Frustrated
      July 12, 2011 - 11:54

      I thought KISS was fantastic, would have liked to have heard a few more classics but all in all they put off a great show. As for the organization within the beer tent and consessions, not so good. I was disappointed that with such a big sale of pre-tickets, the promoters did not anticipate long lineups. Overall, it was a good show but improvements need to be made for next time. One last thing, GENE SIMMONS is a show stealer, just love him to death!!!!!!!

  • Kevin Hillier
    July 11, 2011 - 07:24

    I would like to send an e-mail to shannon tweed about her dad -with information that i was talking to him and would like to relate some of this conversation to her but can't seem to get an e-mail address for her-this info is from the late sixties or early seventies. Thank-you very much-if you could pass this on would be greatly appreciated.