Shania Twain concert site wins praise of promoter

Donald K. Donald CEO eager to return to Charlottetown

The Guardian
By Dave Stewart
September 3, 2014

The promoter who brought Shania Twain to Charlottetown is game to try again.

Andre Hudon, president and CEO of Montreal-based Donald K. Donald, has nothing but high praise for the Charlottetown Event Grounds.

“I loved the site. I think the site is fantastic,’’ Hudon told The Guardian on Tuesday. “There’s not too many shows that you can say ‘they were flawless’ but I would have to say this one was pretty close to being that.’’

It wasn’t the first time the city has hosted a large outdoor concert. Aerosmith played at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park in July 2007, a show that attracted an estimated 35,000 people.

But it was the first time the new event grounds on the waterfront had hosted a large show.

An estimated 23,000 people turned out to see Summerside’s Trinity Bradshaw, Corey Hart and Twain perform.

Hudon said the audience for Saturday’s Twain show could have been slightly bigger.

“There were people from off-Island who would have loved to come to the show but just couldn’t find a hotel room.’’

The city and province has been bustling with activity all summer with a host of 2014-related events.

The city also has the Celebration Zone going on the waterfront, hosted the tall ships this past weekend and hosted a national fastball tournament.

“Hopefully, in the future we’re not going to hit a weekend with so many activities,’’ he said.

That’s right, Hudon is talking about the future, saying he wouldn’t hesitate about bringing more major concerts to the Charlottetown Event Grounds.

“I think if we have the right act at the right time, for sure. It’s a site that we would definitely consider coming back to.’’

Hudon said the event grounds is a perfect venue for 20,000 to 25,000 people but he wouldn’t want to push it much further.

The Guardian asked Andre Hudon, president and CEO of Montreal-based concert promoter Donald K. Donald, what is at the top of his wish list in terms of major concerts: At the top of his list are reunion tours featuring Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

It’s not just the venue he was impressed with. Hudon said the City of Charlottetown and Eastlink Centre were also instrumental in making the show a major success.

“We really and truly enjoyed working with (City Hall) and the people at Eastlink Centre.’’

The venue was built by the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation and is managed and run by Eastlink Centre.

Wayne Long, events development officer with the city, says there were other promoters in attendance to see how things went.

“We’re very fortunate to have this venue,’’ Long said. “In my role as events development officer for the city, I will be working very close with Eastlink Centre to not only grow existing events that we have and attract new and larger events.’’

Long notes the capacity of the venue is a huge plus, along with the fact it’s so close to the downtown area.

Hudon says normally his office gets at least a few negative emails following any concert but is still waiting for the first one from the Twain show.

Long said that bodes well for Charlottetown.

“Because of all the positive experiences that came out of it, I think there is an opportunity for us to engage this particular promoter or other promoters down the road,’’ said Long.

With no major outdoor concerts in Moncton or Halifax this summer (although Aerosmith and Slash are playing Sydney, N.S., on Sept. 12), P.E.I. was certainly the place to be in 2014.