Crowd control

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

The big luau in the logging town has come and gone for another year. Grand Falls-Windsor’s milling days may be over, but organizers can still grind out an exciting show, attracting throngs of rock music fans from all across the island and beyond. It has become, in effect, Newfoundland’s Glastonbury.

Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, belts out the lyrics to a screaming audience at this year's Salmon Festival. Maroon 5 was the concert's headliner.

Salmon Festival 2014 was a more intimate affair than its predecessors — if you consider a crowd of at least 8,000 intimate — but fans appeared more than pleased with the result.

Whether the festival broke even isn’t known yet, but the more manageable numbers were at least a relief for those who got caught in last year’s debacle.

Related story

Councillor says date change cut crowds at Salmon Festival

The 2013 concert attracted a whopping 30,000 people.

Audience members were not allowed to take anything into the venue with them, including food and water.

Temperatures of 30-plus degrees caused a rush on bottled water that organizers hadn’t planned for, causing long lineups at concession stands and some minor cases of dehydration.

As well, thousands more than anticipated somehow crashed the VIP area, making it almost unbearable for those who had paid the premium price for the preferred view.

Angry calls and letters flooded the town hall and media outlets.

Talk of a class-action suit was floated, and the mayor eventually issued a formal apology.

This year, there was no heat wave, but those in charge took no chances. A free water refill station was set up on site.

And yet, in spite of the bad vibes of 2014, it’s probably the genre of music that kept the head count lower this year.

As one newsroom wag pointed out Monday, older music fans have one thing newer music fans often don’t — money.

Whether by chance or by design, none of the bands booked were targeted at the 40-plus crowd — a demographic that, of course, invented the mega-rock phenomenon.

This year, two of the two main acts were Pitbull, a rapper, and Maroon 5, a group that’s actually been active for more than a decade, but which tends to cater to younger pop fans. One of their biggest hits, “Moves like Jagger,” is more club vibe than a nod to the Rolling Stones frontman.

To get an idea how much of a departure this year’s lineup was, one need only look at some of the headliners from recent years. Last year’s sweatfest featured The Eagles; in 2012 the headliner was Aerosmith. Kiss heated things up in 2011. In 2008 it was perennial favourites Blue Rodeo.

Baby Boomers may be starting to lose their pull on the music business, and that’s a good thing if you’re uncomfortable with mobs the size of an Arab Spring protest.

You could say 8,000’s company; 30,000’s a crowd.

Organizations: Rolling Stones

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • John F.
    July 08, 2014 - 10:54

    SF really needs to move to a multi-day model or add a second stage to please everyone. Most artists rely on local promoters to book them 6 months to 1 year in advance to make it viable to tour and make money themselves. No one makes money off of record sales anymore and touring is expensive. The town has no/zero control over who tours and when. This year and other 'lean' years are a prime example of that fact. It's like blaming the weatherman because it rained. I'm betting everyone who stood outside the gates without a ticket enjoyed the show.

  • Bob
    July 08, 2014 - 10:53

    Why are you making it worse then it actually is? You have an article from yesterday that stated there was 21,000 people last year, now its 30,000? Why the sensationalism now?

  • John F.
    July 08, 2014 - 10:52

    SF really needs to move to a multi-day model or add a second stage to please everyone. Most artists rely on local promoters to book them 6 months to 1 year in advance to make it viable to tour and make money themselves. No one makes money off of record sales anymore and touring is expensive. The town has no/zero control over who tours and when. This year and other 'lean' years are a prime example of that fact. It's like blaming the weatherman because it rained. I'm betting everyone who stood outside the gates without a ticket enjoyed the show.

  • James
    July 08, 2014 - 08:52

    Sorry - 8,000 is a large garden party who's proceeds build a new roof on the local church. 30,000 injects a pile of money directly into the towns 2015 - 2016 budget and gives the local economy a very good boost. GFW is not in it to provide a nice day of entertainment. They are in it for one reason and one reason only - money. Someone dropped the ball. This event cost them a lot of money and from an economics view they would have been better off not having it this year. By the way - it's the baby boomers who have and spend the cash.

  • bill
    July 08, 2014 - 05:07

    Bullshit !!!! You guys took down the other article that said this years salmon festival was a failure, and you replaced it with this phony article about how even though they lost a fortune it was still a success !!!! Probably at the request of the promoters who are all your buddies !!! This is like when Spinal Tap's ticket sales dropped and their manager said the band is not losing popularity, it's appeal is becoming more selective!!! You people are hollywood scum!!!!!

    • Moderator
      July 08, 2014 - 08:29

      We didn't remove the story saying the change in date hurt Salmon Fest numbers. It just moves further down our website as newer stories get posted. It's right here: http://bit.ly/VE6vuv