Kiss rocks Salmon Festival crowd

David Newell
Published on July 11, 2011

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.