Backstage rumours

Salmon Festival announcement coming soon; hospitality businesses bombarded with calls, emails

Krysta Carroll
Published on January 25, 2012
Graham Hutchinson, owner of the Robin Hood Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor, says he has the second and third weekends in July blocked and has not released a single room in anticipation of an announcement of the 2012 Exploits Valley Salmon Festival Concert. — Photo by Krysta Colbourne/The Advertiser

Kiss hadn’t even left the Exploits Valley before rumours stared to fly around about who would be playing at the 2012 event.

Before leaving the area, some people booked rooms for the following year.

Last year, the concert was moved up a weekend, from the traditional third weekend in July, to the second to accommodate the big-name act.

And though the announcement has not been made on who will be headlining this year’s Exploits Valley Salmon Festival Concert, phone lines and emails have been flowing in to local hotels and inns from people trying to make sure they have accommodations lined up for the event.

“There is lots of interest in several weekends in July,” said Peggy Hamilton, general manager of the Mount Peyton Hotel. “We’re getting lots of calls, and lots of bookings for people that are trying to secure rooms for the Salmon Festival.”

The Robin Hood Hotel, on the other hand, is not taking bookings.

“We actually have those two weekends blocked,” said owner Graham Hutchinson. “We haven’t released a single room for those two weekends (July 6-7 and July 13-14).”

He added they are being pestered for rooms, and has been receiving emails since October, and on some days, gets up to a dozen a day.

“We are not releasing rooms until the town tell us, but we do think the town should tell us,” Hutchinson said. “They can’t keep saying they are going to announce it and not do it. They should announce the date.”

He said they have never had a waitlist, but he said this year they have quite a long list of people to phone or email back.

“And have people who stay year after year and we can’t even take their bookings,” Hutchinson said. “We just can’t do anything now.”

Christine Lingard, who co-owns and operates Brookdale Country Inn and RV Park with her husband, Phil, said they are receiving calls and emails as well.

“They are asking to book the Salmon Festival weekend, but like I am saying to them, I’m not even sure when it is because it hasn’t been announced, not to my knowledge, and last year it was changed to accommodate the Kiss band, so I can’t book them in for a weekend in July when I am not sure what weekend the Salmon Festival is,” Lingard said. “So I have more or less been telling them they are going to have to call back when we get the dates released.”

She said they are receiving a lot of calls and emails, but is ready for another influx once the date is released.

“Last year was a record,” she said. “You are full regardless of who is playing, but last year it was just unbelievable. If the rumours are true, it’s going to be just as crazy this year.”

She said because people are unsure when the concert is taking place, some people are asking to book a couple weekends in July, just to be sure.

“You can’t do that,” she said. “We are only a small business, we only have seven rooms, so we get them booked up with weddings and family reunions and that kind of thing, so I’m not going to book up all my rooms for two weekends when I could be booking it out to somebody else.”

She said she has taken some names and kept emails, but she has not officially booked anybody in for a weekend in July for Salmon Festival until she knows the dates.

She said she has received a couple calls for the RV park as well, which she said was full last year, too.

“We’ve had calls asking when the Salmon Festival is, too,” she said.

People should soon know the answer to that question. A five-year contact was signed with SRO Entertainment, so more big things are expected to come to Grand Falls-Windsor, according to the mayor.

“We’re working on another huge concert and we’re hoping to have an announcement within probably the next couple of weeks,” said Mayor Al Hawkins. “It is going to be in July.”

The Advertiser