Mayor apologizes for concert problems

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In recent days, our well-known Salmon Festival has been the subject of public discussion.  As mayor of the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, I appreciate this opportunity to address the issues at hand.

Salmon Festival truly is a gem for both our town and our province. It is a tourist attraction that showcases Newfoundland and Labrador, injects liveliness into the local community and contributes to the economy.

This year, for the first time in the 29-year history of Salmon Festival, attendance exceeded 25,000 people.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are about these numbers and the potential we see for great concerts in the future. However, we also know we have a lot to learn about hosting a festival of this magnitude.

We’ve received a lot of feedback from attendees, and we appreciate it.

Many people had absolutely fantastic things to say, particularly about the calibre of the entertainment, the performances themselves and the overall experience.

However, some people also had criticisms. Long wait lines at the concessions, a shortage of water and overcrowding in the VIP area were the main concerns.

We truly understand and sympathize with people’s frustrations.

We know that festival attendees’ expectations weren’t fully met.  I personally want to reassure everyone that we’re working diligently with everyone concerned to address these concerns and improve on the experience going forward.  

Salmon Festival is important to the town of Grand Falls-Windsor, and we’re committed to ensuring it continues to be a point of pride for our town and our province.

Huge thanks goes to our staff and volunteers for their hard work. We’re particularly proud of the team of professionals who were on site that included several doctors, nurses and even a psychiatrist so that the health and safety of all attendees remained a priority throughout the event.

In fact, of the 25,000 attendees a very small number, seven, were actually referred for assistance beyond our on-the-ground team — not the large numbers that have been inferred publicly.

We’re also pleased with the seamless flow of events from beginning to end — from one performance to the next, as well as a quick conclusion to the concert, with all 25,000 attendees exiting the premises in approximately half an hour.

And, to our sponsors who see value in the Salmon Festival brand, we want to assure you the event will continue to represent a quality sponsorship opportunity.  

We also extend thanks to everyone who came out this year to enjoy the concert and show their support for Salmon Festival. We sincerely hope you enjoyed the performances.

We apologize for the disruptions to your enjoyment of the concert, and we look forward to seeing you (as well as some new faces) next year.

Al Hawkins

Mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor

Organizations: Town of Grand Falls-Windsor

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Falls-Windsor, Grand Falls

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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    July 28, 2013 - 16:00

    The Mayor hasn't addressed why it was horribly oversold. Health and safety were a priority? He's got to be kidding. Greed has ruined your cash cow Mayor. Boycott scamonfest!

  • Paul Ryan
    July 28, 2013 - 14:09

    if this is what you call an apology. it is a poor excuse. Own up to it . It is a money grab and that is all. when water was available a case of water cost $96 at shoppers we paid $2.49. One of the freest natural resources we have. PRICE GOUGING AT IT'S FINEST. Not all NL communities are like this. Not allowed out and back in . Use a bracelet you did for VIP section(sarcasm here). MORONS

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    July 27, 2013 - 11:12

    Unfortunately for the mayor and others involved in this fiasco, timing is everything. When you are involved in public relations you have to respond in a timely fashion. People who felt mistreated needed to get some sort of resolution at the time of the event, not some kind of - lip service - two weeks later. Lip service is not going to correct the mistakes that were made. Customer service is the cornerstone of any successful business venture. The town of Grand Falls-Windsor received a substantial financial compensation from the promoter as their share of the profits. The VIP section should at least be compensated by the town even if they have to straighten it out with the promoter later. If they don't pay the town back terminate their contract for any future events.

  • Fact Checker
    July 27, 2013 - 07:21

    "It is a tourist attraction that showcases Newfoundland and Labrador ... and contributes to the economy." What??? Sorry Al, it does not. If anything, it "showcases" American acts and a mainland promoter. These people do not come cheap, so they haul away a pile of cash with them out of the province. A small handful of people might come to Newfoundland and Labrador to see these non-locals, but I am sure they do not drop as much cash as the event takes drags out of here. So, if anything it is net loss to the economy of the province.

    • Jay
      July 29, 2013 - 15:09

      Fact Checker, Well said. None of these clowns come here to add anything to our economy. All of these events suck our money out of the economy. The tourism "experts" who cite these statistics are totally wrong, but we keep falling for their BS

  • Eli
    July 27, 2013 - 06:52

    Your critics were enormous Al, appears it still hasn't sunk in.