First sell out in the Riverfront Jubilee's history
NEW GLASGOW – It wasn’t an Ordinary Day for the Riverfront Jubilee to be at capacity, but executive director Carlton Munroe is fine with that.
The event saw over 13,000 people come through the gates over the three nights at Glasgow Square, with a capacity crowd of just over 5,000 people in attendance Sunday night for headliner Great Big Sea. It was the first time in the 18 years of the Jubilee that they have sold out an individual night.
“It almost became a spectator sport the last couple weeks to constantly be checking the ticket sale updates,” said Munroe. “It started to set in a few weeks ago that it was possible to sell out Sunday night, which is what we were hoping for when we booked Great Big Sea. Everybody was proud with how we were able to handle it based on our site downtown and the way we were able to make sure everyone had a good experience.”
Munroe said there was some negative feedback received by the organizing committee, which centered around wait times at the gate and the inability for people to bring in chairs after the designated chair area was at capacity. He said with it being the first year they hit capacity that there are things they can improve.
“As Great Big Sea was about to come on there were over 1,000 people that flooded the gates,” he said. “We got the board members up to the gate and opened more lanes to get people in. I didn’t hear too many complaints after some people waited for 25 minutes. It’s something that hasn’t happened to us before. I hope in some ways that it’s an indicator that we want people to enjoy the entire evening because we have fantastic music from wall-to-wall each night. We want to encourage people to enjoy the entire evening and it’s easier to accommodate the crowd at the gate when there isn’t one rush.”
Speaking to the issue with fans having to leave their chairs at the gate or return them to their cars, Munroe said they were unsure of what was needed for space, but that it was similar to what they had allotted in the past.
“We were concerned about that for sure, but when you don’t know how many people are going to bring chairs it’s hard to plan that exactly,” he said. “We laid out as much space, if not more, than other years. Chairs in the licensed area become a security issue and traditionally the unlicensed side tends to be more underutilized. You try to find the best split and the crowd filled that whole area, so we felt we did that the best we could.
“I do apologize to anyone that wasn’t able to bring in their chair because of the chair section being full, but that is part of the growing pains and we’ll look at it again for next year.”
Looking at the overall picture he said over the years they’ve been running the event that this year was one of the closest to their projections.
“All three nights were what we wanted – we do a lot of projections and number crunching when we figure out lineup and this year we’re pretty much bang on our projections,” he said. “It’s hard with an outdoor festival with Mother Nature affecting your gate, but this year was another successful year and the performances were unbelievable yet again.”
Away from the main stage everything went according to plan with the Children’s Jubilee and Songwriter’s Circle on Saturday, Blues in the Park on Sunday and the Late Night Stage on Friday and Saturday at Acro Lounge and Eatery.
“The Children’s Jubilee was fantastically attended this year and we had some great entertainment yet again,” said Munroe. “It’s such a great setting down in Carmichael Park with the green space right it town and a lot of variety was offered to those that attended the event. We also had the best-attended Songwriter’s Circle we’ve had since we started those three years ago. It was a good chance for people to get in and see the facility and enjoy some amazing music.
“The late night stage had some impromptu performances, with some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see people perform, which you always hope for with a music festival like this.”
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