You may think that I’d be overjoyed by the shocking announcement by Gillette Entertainment Group that the previously-announced Celine Dion concert on the Halifax Common is now cancelled. You might presume that I’m basking in a self-righteous glow about the fact that someone smarted up and agreed that the show was a bad idea.
I’m not. In fact, I’m flat-out pissed.
Last week, I declared the decision to put Dion on the Commons a failure on the part of the parties involved. Today’s announcement turns that into a colossal failure, one that wrecks the credibility of all actors involved – the city, Events Halifax and Gillett Entertainment Group – and damages the reputation and self-esteem of our fair town. The announcement came in a press release from Gillett, unceremoniously delivered to media in a pre-weekend news dump, claiming that the Commons venue is “not appropriate” for Celine’s stage show or her fans.
It took me about 30 seconds after I first heard the announcement last week to come to that same conclusion. So why the hell did Gillett only come to that realization after the concert was signed, sealed and delivered?
The news inspired flashbacks to the withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games bid earlier this year. It’s not quite on the same level (as there wasn’t a lot of non-refundable money poured into this – I hope), but it’s another case of the right decision being made way after the point where common sense should have stepped in and stopped things. The show was loudly and proudly announced to the media. Full-page ads had been printed in the major newspapers. Tickets were to go on sale next week. This thing was ready to go. What the hell happened?
On the CTV news this evening, Peter Kelly seemed blindsided by the announcement, but that doesn’t absolve the city of blame. Did the city and/or Events Halifax oversell the capabilities of the Commons as a venue? Were they so eager to hold a Commons concert that they dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s way before they should have? Did Gillett fail to disclose the technical requirements of the show? Or did all parties involved dramatically misread the potential audience for an outdoor Celine Dion concert?
The bottom line is that everybody comes out looking like asshats in this mess, and I truly hope that we get some answers to these questions in the days to come. This summer, poor communication and bureaucratic failures left us without a Commons concert, and the fact that these issues are again rearing their ugly head does not bode well for citizens like me who desperately want a worthwhile megaconcert to visit our city next year.
Q104 was reportedly stating today that there may be two more concert announcements coming next week, so fingers crossed that all parties involved can rebound from this pitiful, pitiful disaster.