Great Big Success

Christopher Cameron
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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.”

View the slideshow here.

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.”

On Twitter: @NGNewsChris

Organizations: Great Big Sea

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW, Carmichael Park

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Recent comments

  • Jill D.
    August 06, 2013 - 20:23

    I thought it was a great weekend of entertainment top to bottom. Did you really think you were going to take lawn chairs in and sit on a grassy knoll for great big sea? half the town's poulation was there in the lot, did you really think otherwise?, or need instruction? Things can always improve as with anything, it's no easy task organizing every last detail and requirement and whim of so many involved in putting on the event, or as spectators. Stop whining and use your head. Yes, it would be nice to have space and plush seats or grandstands for all, but they are a hazard indeed scattered about in a huge crowd of people. There's no easy instant fix, stop being so negative for all the hard work people put in, planning for next year is already underway, that's how much planning it takes to execute such an event.

  • Happy Mama
    August 06, 2013 - 18:17

    I attended the Jubilee on Sunday evening and had a fantastic time! During Great Big Sea, I was standing between 20 year olds and 60 year olds all singing and dancing and having a blast! I arrived early at 7pm to both avoid the line ups and to enjoy the early entertainers. I am 6 months pregnant, suffer from plantar faciitis and back pain, and managed to suck it up and stand for 6 hours in order to enjoy an evening of top notch performers. Kudos to all of the organizers for the best Jubilee ever!

  • Pictou Resident
    August 06, 2013 - 18:06

    GREAT JOB CARLTON MUNROE, and all the other people that made Jubilee a success! You cannot please everyone! You had a sell out night and a weekend that saw over 13,000 ppl pass through the gates! Hats off to all of you and see you next year!

  • Happy Goer
    August 06, 2013 - 15:14

    Wow what a weekend!! Congrats to the organizers on a job well done. For those of you complaining about taking chairs to the event.....its an oudoor concert! I got jabbed in the leg with someone dragging a chair through a crowd. You see chairs at a big open field, not Glasgow Square. Anyway I am truly impressed with the weekend and cant wait until next year!!!!!!!! What a great event for our town....thanks again.

  • Mac
    August 06, 2013 - 09:38

    Outside of the MASSIVE and very slow line up on Sunday, I think they did a good job. If there is another big name next year I hope they learned some lessons from what happened Sunday night. There needs to be changes at the gate. The staff were not at all prepared for the amount of people who would soon line up to get in. I know it is their job BUT, checking IDs on people who are clearly older than 19 yrs really slowed down the line up, especially having to be checked again at the beer garden gate to make sure I had the right color bracelet. If there was a second, advanced pass gate at another location, maybe by H&R Music or something to help speed things up, we would not have missed all of Dave Gunning while waiting in line. The only other thing I have to ask is.... why is the headliner... not the headliner? I felt so bad for the Divorcees. That place EMPTIED out after Great Big Sea. The same thing happened last year with Kim Mitchell. whoever came on after him had next to noone watching. Place the headliner on last, the crowd will be the same size and the less known bands will get some show time. Cant wait until next year!

  • Callee Luddington
    August 06, 2013 - 09:23

    So all of us drinking beer (and not all of us are rowdy sir) should be behind the entire sober section with the worst seats in the house just because we chose to drink beer? That is not fair at all, I paid for tickets to see as well. There are fences, police officers and security dividing the two sides. It is not that it is "all about drinking beer," it is all about friends and music and having a good time and I guess if we want to drink beer and they sell it, we can. When I was younger there was a point where there was no division at all and we were all mixed, that was horrible, they did a great job this year. I am so sad to come on here and see so much negativity. No event is perfect, yes people get mad, but can nobody find anything good to say about how hard everyone worked this year?

  • D. Webb
    August 06, 2013 - 07:46

    We also had tickets for Sunday night and didn't use them. We were told at the gate that they had just decided that they weren't allowing any more chairs in. My husband has bad knees and cannot stand for extended periods of time. That decision should have been made ahead of time . If we had known we would not have purchased tickets. Poor planning indeed. We have attended the Jubilee for years and always enjoyed it but will probably not be attended again. Not impressed !

    • callee luddington
      August 06, 2013 - 09:11

      I understand your frustration, but what you must understand is with that amount of people already in there, more chairs makes things more dangerous, it is not that they turned you away being insensitive to your husband's knees they just didn't want you to take your chairs, and honestly in there you wouldn't have found a spot to put them. It is not due to poor planning at all, they can't turn paying customers away so that everyone who wants a chair can take a chair. I wish you had of come in and enjoyed yourself because there were empty bleachers the whole way through great big sea.

  • OverTheMoon
    August 06, 2013 - 05:47

    Wow. Great weekend! It's an outdoor music festival folks so if you font want to stand on a hard surface don't come. Great bands .. Great times and the Late Stage at the Acro Lounge was AWESOME! Saturdays finale at the Acro was music history! First time Bering there since they took it over and must say its now the best live music venue in PC!

  • Kathryn Mattatall
    August 05, 2013 - 23:39

    I was one of the people who were told I couldn't bring chairs in, and by the write-up, I see that I am by far not the only one totally ticked off. My sister and I, along with a friend from Quebec City who came specifically to see the Sunday night show, were on the grounds by 7 pm and when we saw there were no seats set up as in previous years, the two of them saved spots in the 'lawn chair section' while I went back to the West Side to get a couple of chairs for us. By the time I got back, I was told, and very rudely too, that I couldn't bring my chairs in, even after I explained spots were being held there for me, so I ended up lugging the chairs back to the West Side, not only arriving back all hot, sweaty, tired and sore, but missed the end of Fleur's performance and all of Stragg Session's too!! AND the spots were still there, along with plenty of others, when I got back to the sitting area without our chairs!! I am writing a more detailed letter to the Jubilee committee, but to make a long story short, it was not a very good 'introduction' to the Jubilee to my Quebec City friend and I won't be attending any more Jubilees...I'll be another smart one and set up my chair somewhere else in town so I can sit down, relax and listen to it instead of suffering back lower back and feet pain from standing in a crowd on concrete, hardly seeing anything anyway, and they didn't even have the 2nd screen working so show the performance to add insult to injury.

  • Abe MacIntosh
    August 05, 2013 - 21:20

    Over the years we've attended the Jubilee and with time we've found it to be less and less interesting and enjoyable. The year the beer area was moved from behind the family area to beside the family area was to me the beginning of the end. Is this festival about music and a family night or about drinking beer? I don't mind drinking beer and typically we've wandered back and forth between beer and family area, but, I'd rather have the rowdier bunch behind me than beside me. We always buy a weekend pass to help support the Jubilee and this year I didn't want to buy one, but, my wife insisted so we bought them. Sunday night, we got there just after seven, specifically to see Fleur and then relax and wait for Great Big Sea. We had chairs. Nope, no chairs, can't come in, sorry, we made up this rule on the spur of the moment about an hour ago. The previous two nights we walked in and sat in the chair area. Not Sunday. Well, my wife went in to see Fleur and I carried the chairs home and stayed home. She came home right after Fleur played. Neither one of us could stand for 5 to 6 hours (I know we were absolutely not alone in this issue…saw many older people, sometimes obviously disabled with arthritis, or, walking with canes)…all of us turned away. This is the last time we'll be buying tickets. Although the show was "sold out" for Sunday, I'm guessing many who held tickets didn't attend. The board who runs the Jubilee has completely lost sight as to what it's about. Spur of the moment decision to ban seating in order to accommodate others. Sorry, doesn't work for me.

    • philip mackenzie
      August 06, 2013 - 07:39

      ive known CARLTON MUNROE for a good number of years' and I am on side with these poor folks ' who had to be turned away ' with their folding chairs. if CARLTON SAID HE DONE HIS BEST. believe it ' as he is a very honourable person . as for my spelling to the person who quoted me yesterday. that's why they put tips on pencils.