QC Confidential’s Concert Concern

This issue’s Queen City Confidential confessor, having spotted Cowboy Junkies dates in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, is frustrated with Regina’s concert promoters. The reader writes:

Now I understand why so many great musicians skip Regina. It’s not because we suck at turning out to support shows, but because friggin’ concert promoters don’t step up and book acts when they’re touring in this area. What’s up with that?

That’s certainly the case some of the time. I’ve heard about acts who are proven draws in this city who don’t stop here because no one is willing to put them up. Plus, there are successful promoters, individuals and groups, who manage to bring people to shows based on own their reputations in addition to just booking acts people want to see. GrassRoots Regina and the Regina Folk Festival, in the form of their year-round concert series, are two good examples in my mind.

But there’s also some chicken-and-egg stuff going on here, too. Some promoters are no doubt hesitant because Regina audiences can be fickle.

How about you, Dog Blog reader? How would you assign responsibility for the concerts Regina misses?

Author: James Brotheridge

Contributing Editor with Prairie Dog.

6 thoughts on “QC Confidential’s Concert Concern”

  1. Not that this would have impacted the Cowboy Junkies show, but one thing that’s really hurt our scene/s is the reformatting of the New West Concert Series grant a few years ago. We’re now a way less viable stop for interesting, low-tier touring bands (unless they want to play bar shows, which are a safer bet financially but have a built-in/less attentive crowd).

  2. I don’t know enough about the behind-the-scenes concert stuff to answer the question… but on a sorta side note, it would have been nice to see the Cowboy Junkies here! I checked out their website and it looks like most of their current cross-Canada tour is supporting John Mellencamp. They’re doing a few side shows (the Saskatoon one is for The Neighbours’ Dog) and it looks like they fit in as many as they could (they’re playing every night from June 21-30, for example!).

  3. “…the reformatting of the New West Concert Series grant a few years ago.”

    Pls elaborate?

  4. A Regina, cd / ipod jockey ( discs? ), emailed me and said a band won’t come here because they can’t make money playing Regina.
    Even tho’ they are a “top ” listened to. Regina playlist band.

    Are the rooms too expensive to rent, or are the owners, of the stages, just too greedy?

    It is a choice by the promoters. Band X you did sign that contract..

    But then again, when, within your memory has a radio station, ( especially since the early days of FM radio ), actually played a full album, or a live song, & without a commercial break.

    A few local tunes getting out there now.
    it’s a kneejerk reaction to the homegrown talent, 50 years too late.

    Playing Streetheart doesn’t count / help.

  5. Ron, compare Regina, Saskatoon, any Sask city on Hotels.ca to any other Canadian city, and yes, on that point, hotel rooms in Regina are RIDICULOUS expenzive.

    On any given day, you can find a 4-star hotel in downtown Toronto for $90/night, while the cheapest thing in Regina is the freaking HoJo, or whatever it is now, just off Vic and Broad, for $132/night.

    Regina and Saskatoon are ridiculous, stuck in the ’90s. I would never come here if I didn’t live here or had family or fans to stay with.

  6. The short version on the New West thing is that, in case you haven’t noticed, New West shows are now much larger and more sporadic. The grant used to allow the Exchange to offer a tiny guarantee to any touring band that came through the Club, as well as actually promote the shows around the city with posters and suchlike, both of which are extremely important for drawing both bands and audiences out to a dedicated venue. Now, the conditions of the grant (if I remember right) are that it be used to bring in a large show every so often; for example, the Braids concert at the Exchange last year was actually a New West show.

    For obvious reasons, this is a senseless and stupid way for the Exchange to have to distribute the grants. A Braids show – or a show from a band at the same level, career-wise, as Braids – will pay for itself. The band will make money and the venue will make money. Moving the conditions of the grant has just meant that smaller or more niche acts have either moved to O’Hanlon’s – a fine place to play and watch shows, sure, but also a bar that only has shows three nights a week – or just started to avoid playing in Regina altogether, when they used to have a venue that was dedicated to playing host to them and there used to be a community, however small, dedicated to that venue.

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