Springsteen show never made it to site proposal stage, says promoter

Published on August 10, 2013

The Boss was never confirmed to play in St. John’s, says a longtime concert promoter whose been trying to bring Bruce Springsteen to the capital city for years.

“All I can say, there’s no secret for a long time I have been trying to court Bruce Springsteen. And I am one of a hundred promoters in a thousand cities who would love to have him play in their city,” David Carver told The Telegram Friday when asked if he was behind the recent attempt to get the American rocker to St. John’s.

The rock ‘n’ roll rumours started Monday during a St. John’s council meeting when Mayor Dennis O’Keefe — holding the front page of Monday’s edition of The Telegram which displayed a photo of the rock band KISS with the headline “KISS makes St. John’s rock city,” — said the city needs an outdoor venue to host big concerts. The 1970s rock band played Mile One Saturday and Sunday nights.

O’Keefe proceeded to talk about the fact the city lost the opportunity to hold a Springsteen concert this summer because it and the promoter couldn’t come up with a suitable venue. However, Carver said it didn’t get that far.

“I can confirm this — Springsteen wasn’t confirmed to play St. John’s and didn’t show up because we didn’t have a place to play. That’s not true. We didn’t lose a Springsteen concert because we didn’t have a venue. It hadn’t got to a point where we were pitching an outdoor site to anybody,” he said.

Carver said he believes when the mayor spoke publicly about the possibility of the Boss playing here, O’Keefe was aware of Carver’s idea, but that he likely didn’t have the whole story.

In the meantime, the well-known promoter said he was looking at a site near the Goulds bypass in which some of his advisers expressed an interest.

“But my preference would be, if the Town of Paradise steps up, my wish, if the town called me up and said, ‘Come on back in and meet with us we want to do business with you,’ I would bring a permanent stage to put on that site,” said Carver.

Unfortunately, he said, with everything he offered Paradise, the town’s only response was to ask him how much it would cost to bring Bon Jovi to town.

Paradise Mayor Ralph Wiseman told The Telegram Friday, the old steel mill property — part of the town’s 256-acre recreational park around Octagon Pond and Rocky Pond — will be used for more than a concert venue.

“The plan is to have a water park and slides and a walking trail as well as a bicycle trail. All of this has already been thought through. That is part of a much larger plan,” said Wiseman.

He said the town is partnering with the Avalon Dragons, breast cancer survivors who boat race, who are putting a boathouse on Octagon Pond and behind it they need an area to accommodate a tent city in order to participate in international races.

“It all takes time and it all takes money. But when this site is done it will be absolutely fabulous for our recreation program, our outdoor program and a lot of things will come out of it. But we are not in competition with anybody. This is a project for Paradise,” said Wiseman.

He said the bowl-shaped area behind the new arena, which is about 35 acres, will be ideal for concerts and if a promoter wants to come to Paradise when it’s done the town will entertain any prospects.

“But when Mr. Carver came to us and said he wanted to put off a major show this year, we told him it wouldn’t be ready until the fall,” said Wiseman.  

In the midst of the debate about whether the city had a place for Springsteen to play or didn’t,

St. John’s businessman Danny Williams seized the opportunity to let the city know he has the land for the perfect outdoor venue.

The former Newfoundland premier says if St. John’s is going to compete with Moncton, Halifax and Charlottetown for the big names in music, it has to have the perfect site.

“There’s 2,400 acres there, and the way the town has grown, there’s no large land blocks available in this city anymore. So if they’re going to look at future expansion down the road that’s the place to go,” Williams said recently, referring to property he owns next to Southlands.