Stealing the thunder

By Randy Edison, The Advertiser
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St. John’s festival names concert headliner on Salmon Festival date

The Exploits Valley Salmon Festival has just been dealt another body blow.

The Exploits Valley Salmon Festival is up against some stiff competition this summer with Rod Stewart just being named as headliner for an outdoor concert in St. John's the same day.

An announcement was made this morning of a concert in St. John’s on the same day (July 11) as this year’s Salmon Festival with international music start Rod Stewart headlining.

The much maligned Grand Falls-Windsor-based music concert has been under the microscope of late having lost nearly a half million dollars last year; experienced the parting of ways with its promotion firm; and a much publicized logistical issue of 2013 which many think contributed to last year’s financial hiccup.

Another contributing factor to last year’s dismal financial outcome was a juggling of dates with many would-be concertgoers unable to plan time to visit the Central region as they have in the past when the concert was held on a more concrete date.

In February, Grand Falls-Windsor council announced the date of this year’s concert to help eliminate that factor. It also announced that the major act would soon be named

“We felt it was important to establish the date so that people can make plans for the summer,” Salmon Festival Committee Chairman Darren Finn said in a Feb. 9 Advertiser story. “We have just secured a major concert headline so the date is definite.”

As of today no announcement has been made. The Advertiser has not received a response to a request from Finn for comment on how this announcement might affect the Salmon festival.

Stay tuned as the Advertiser tracks this story and its effects on one of the region’s cornerstone events and a major economic contributor.


“Well now,” said Exploits Regional Chamber of Commerce President Kris Spurrell when delivered the news about the announcement. “It remains to be seen exactly how much, but this is definitely a blow to the Salmon Festival.”

“I understand the town has been planning to go with a country act this year, so that might help soften the blow,” he continued. “I guess now it’s going to depend a lot on which acts the town brings in.”

The Salmon Festival is a popular event, with a loyal audience, Spurrell noted.

“People proactively plan to travel here for it, so that’s one thing they have going for them.”

He’s not surprised an announcement like this came, though.

“I’ve heard through the grapevine for a while now that St. John’s was considering something like this,” he told the Advertiser this afternoon. “You’re really competing for the same dollar, and being in business, we certainly know what competition is all about.”


Mayor Al Hawkins believes the town’s package of entertainment will stand up to the competition from the Capital City concert.

“We hope to be able to make an announcement maybe even tomorrow or maybe Monday,” he said. “We’ve always had the stand that we didn’t want to make announcements in piecemeal – we want to announce a package.

“That puts a little more pressure on us, but…. this is certainly not for the feint of heart,” he added. “It’s not easy to finalize things when dealing with acts…it’s just not something that gets turned around in 24 hours.

“Unfortunately for us we haven’t finalized it yet, and for us as a council its even more frustrating because we have everyone wanting an announcement.”

The mayor termed the head-to-head – Central against the City dynamic, “unfortunate.“

 “From the town’s perspective, we’re just moving ahead. They picked a date that goes head to head with us, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

“We feel we have a good package and now it will be up to the people if they want to go to St. John’s or come to Grand Falls-Windsor,” the mayor concluded.

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Recent comments

  • Lynn Garner
    March 04, 2015 - 12:26

    Indiana fans want Aerosmith back for the Blue Army Tour!

  • Bolmit
    March 03, 2015 - 12:57

    It's been a month since a press release announced they had a headliner and a definite date. Now, Rod Stewart's playing St. John's on the same day and still no word about the Salmon line up. Thursday will come and people will be buying Rod Stewart tickets committing themselves. I went to see Kiss and Aerosmith but this year, I'll see Rod. Too much silence from Grand Falls.

  • Newfie girl
    March 02, 2015 - 14:51

    Well last year they had hipper bands and suffered a huge loss.... Sometimes the oldies are the goodies! But they need to get the announcement out soon!

  • Doreen
    February 26, 2015 - 19:16

    I hope they have someone big or it's going to be a big lost again this year for gfw ...

  • darrell
    February 26, 2015 - 18:44

    Rumours anyone?

  • Marianne
    February 26, 2015 - 18:26

    The town needs to stop delaying and announce already....going to have to get some big name here to get the crowds interested in Salmon Fest again. As for Rod playing in St. John's, he will attract the older crowds.....I am 36 and laugh when people crack up over rod....maybe 20 years ago!!!!

  • Donna
    February 26, 2015 - 16:08

    I sure hope they announce the lineup ASAP and I really hope it's HUGE because we can't afford to have a big loss like last year and I really think the town should ask the PEOPLE who they would like to see come here for our salmon Festival............maybe they should put it out there for the people to give their points for next year.......I am staying positive that it is gonna be an awesome concert this year.......

  • Chuck
    February 26, 2015 - 15:28

    To be fair, Rod Stewart is playing in Canada around this time, in Kitchener I believe, so i'm sure the concert promotors in town who wanted to bring this act here don't have a whole lot of sway in what dates old Rod Stewart is willing to come. Everything is not always St. John's trying to shag everyone over outside the overpass. Another thing is bringing in a Country music act just further alienates a big percentage of the people who would be willing to come. The older folks who put the Salmon Festival together are out of touch and with the choices they make are just going to make less and less returns for the town. Oh yea, hurry up and announce who is playing, and please surprise me with someone worth coming to see.

  • meagan
    February 26, 2015 - 14:31

    If you were smart you would announce the headliner before it is too late