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Gardens won't renew concert booker's contract

New advisory group will work to bring events to the Gardens, Bondar Tent and the new downtown plaza
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2010-08-10 KISS crowd DMH Essar Anniversary
KISS delighted Saultites at what was then the Steelback Centre on August 2010. Donna Hopper/SooToday

The city's one-year contract with entertainment booker Venue Coalition won't be renewed when it expires on April 30.

Last year, the city agreed to pay about $18,000 for a one-year trial with the California-based specialist in booking artists, attractions, and touring productions to arenas and theatre venues.

Venue Coalition had previously helped bring Theresa Caputo - Long Island Medium (2016) and the Thank You Canada Tour (2018) to the city-owned Gardens.

But since it was retained by City Council last May, the firm's results have been somewhat less than star-quality.

"City staff have reviewed the results of the partnership with Venue Coalition and are recommending that the city not renew this agreement," says Brent Lamming, the city's director of community services, in a report to Mayor Provenzano and city councillors.

"Although access to valuable information was garnered from the partnership with Venue Coalition there are only a couple of shows with holds at present resulting from the relationship," Lamming says.

"Staff feels that a new approach utilizing the talent and connections of local industry experts combined with staff will provide a unique opportunity to collaborate to increase opportunities."

On Monday, Lamming will ask City Council to approve creation of a new concert/ entertainment advisory group that will work to attract events to the Gardens, Bondar Tent and the new downtown plaza.

"City staff are aware of the individuals connected to the industry and are confident they would be eager to participate in the group," he says.

"This initiative will not limit staff’s ongoing efforts to attract events independently or in conjunction with promoters."

In 2017, City Council authorized staff to set aside as much as $1 from the facility fee for each show, up to a maximum of $50,000, to help attract future events.

"This fund has not been used to date," Lamming says.

"The event development fund currently has a balance of $21,300 which can be utilized to attract events to the community. The concert/ entertainment advisory group will provide recommendations to city management as to when the funds should be used."

Not counting Soo Greyhound games, the Steelback/Essar Centre/GFL Memorial Gardens has hosted 224 events since it opened on Sept. 29, 2006:

2006 - 4 events (partial year)

  • Inaugural Soo Greyhound game - Oct. 11, 2006
  • Motley Crue - Dec. 6, 2006
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - Dec. 8, 2006
  • Celebration on Ice - Dec. 17, 2006

2007 - 16 events

  • Clifford The Big Red Dog - Jan. 11, 2007
  • Tragically Hip - Jan. 23, 2007
  • Memories of the Rat Pack - Feb. 9, 2007
  • Barenaked Ladies - Feb. 17, 2007
  • Heaven and Hell - March 20, 2007
  • Jann Arden - April 20, 2007
  • Garden Bros Circus - May 7-8, 2007
  • Sault College Convocation - May 25, 2007
  • Monster Spectacular - May 27, 2007
  • INXS - July 15, 2007
  • Hilary Duff - Sept. 11, 2007
  • Korah Reunion - Oct. 5-6, 2007
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - Oct. 20, 2007
  • Big Air Insanity - Oct. 26, 2007
  • Bachman and Cummings - Nov. 12, 2007
  • 18 Forever - Dec. 8, 2007

2008 - 27 events

  • Three Days Grace - Jan. 24, 2008
  • Blue Rodeo - Jan. 29, 2008
  • Bon Soo Birthday Bash - Feb. 1, 2008
  • Michelle Wright - Feb. 2, 2008
  • OHL All Star Classic - Feb. 5-6, 2008
  • John Cougar Mellencamp - Feb. 8, 2008
  • Chamber of Commerce Home and Outdoor Show - March 7-9, 2008
  • Little NHL Hockey Tournament - March 10-13, 2008
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - March 26, 2008
  • Anne Murray - April 26, 2008
  • National Aboriginal Hockey Championship - April 27- May 3, 2008
  • HSCDSB City Wide Mass - May 9, 2008
  • Garden Bros Circus - May 13 - 14, 2008
  • Monster Madness - May 17, 2008
  • Economic Development Centre Career Day and Job Expo - May 21, 2008
  • Jackyl and Slaughter - May 24, 2008
  • Sault College Convocation - May 26, 2008
  • Backstreet Boys - Aug. 27, 2008
  • Sheryl Crow - Sept. 25, 2008
  • David Copperfield - Oct. 11, 2008
  • Thomas the Tank Engine - Oct. 21, 2008
  • Ringette World Cup Championship - Nov. 3-8, 2008
  • Bob Dylan - Nov. 9, 2008
  • Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance - Nov. 27, 2008
  • The Moscow Ballet - The Nutcracker - Dec. 8, 2008
  • Disney On Ice - High School Musical - Dec. 19-20, 2008
  • Twin Saults International Family Fun Night - Dec. 31, 2008 

2009 - 20 events

  • Doc Walker - Feb. 7, 2009
  • The Rankin Family - Feb. 18, 2009
  • Chamber of Commerce Home and Outdoor Show - March 6 - 8, 2009
  • Bryan Adams - March 9, 2009
  • AAA Bantam Championships - March 23 - 28, 2009
  • Passport to Unity - April 4, 2009
  • Neil Young - April 17, 2009
  • Gordon Lightfoot - April 18, 2009
  • Stars On Ice - April 27, 2009
  • Circus Garden Zoom Street - May 1-3, 2009
  • Sault College Convocation - May 27, 2009
  • TOPS Convention - June 4-6, 2009
  • AMCTO Conference - June 14-15, 2009
  • Tyler Kennedy Stanley Cup Celebration - July 3, 2009
  • Charlie Pride - July 7, 2009
  • Stompin Tom - Aug. 18, 2009
  • Charishunu Performance - Sept. 13, 2009
  • Great Big Sea - Sept. 25, 2009
  • Blue Man Group - Oct. 18, 2009
  • Three Days Grace - Dec. 9, 2009

2010 - 21 events

  • Olympic Torch Run - Jan. 2, 2010
  • The Harlem Globetrotters - Jan. 5, 2010
  • Scotties Tournament of Hearts - Jan. 30 - Feb. 7, 2010
  • The Stars of Beatlemania - Feb. 13, 2010
  • Chamber of Commerce Home and Outdoor Show - March 5-7, 2010
  • Passport to Unity - March 21, 2010
  • Billy Talent - March 22, 2010
  • Blue Rodeo - April 10, 2010
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - April 19, 2010
  • The Dudley Hewitt Cup - April 20-24, 2010
  • Northern Lights Cruisers Classic Car Show - May 15, 2010
  • Sault College Convocation - May 28, 2010
  • CATS - May 31, 2010
  • Elton John - July 12, 2010
  • Finn Grand Fest - July 27 - Aug. 1, 2010
  • KISS - Aug.10, 2010
  • Ladies Auxiliary Legion Convention - Sept. 11-15
  • Hedley - Sept. 22, 2010
  • The Wiggles - Oct. 21, 2010
  • Johnny Reid - Nov. 1, 2010
  • Celebration on Ice - Dec. 17, 2010

2011 - 18 events

  • 70’s Spectacular - Feb. 12, 2011
  • OCAA Men’s Basketball Championships - March 3-5, 2011
  • Chamber of Commerce Home and Outdoor Show - March 11-13, 2011
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - April 6, 2011
  • Larry the Cable Guy - April 19, 2011
  • Royal Canadian Legion Provincial Convention - May 7-11, 2011
  • Passport to Unity - May 15, 2011
  • Burton Cummings - May 21, 2011
  • Sault College Convocation - May 27, 2011
  • Caramilk: Keys to the Secret Event - June 1, 2011
  • Roller Derby Championships - Aug. 6, 2011
  • Hap Ki Do Canadian Open - Aug. 11 - 14, 2011
  • Sirius XM presents: Broken Social Scene - Aug. 17, 2011
  • Seinfeld Live - Sept. 23, 2011
  • Terri Clark and George Canyon - Oct. 12, 2011
  • Grey Power Grand Slam of Curling - Nov. 2-6, 2011
  • Subway Super Series: OHL vs Russia - Nov. 14, 2011
  • Gordon Lightfoot - Dec. 5, 2011

2012 - 21 events

  • King of Pop and Zero Gravity Circus - Feb. 12, 2012
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - Feb. 24, 2102
  • CARHA World Cup Championships - March 4-11, 2012
  • Riverdance - March 28, 2012
  • AAA Telus Midget Championships - April 2-8, 2012
  • Johnny Reid - April 30, 2012
  • Terpsichore Dance Celebration - May 4-5 , 2012
  • Passport to Unity - May 6, 2012
  • Bryan Adams - May 8, 2012
  • Cirque Du Soleil Quidam - May 10-13, 2012
  • Sault College Convocation - May 25, 2012
  • Il Volo - Aug. 10, 2012
  • Roller Derby Championships - Aug. 11, 2012
  • Trailer Park Boys movie filming - Aug. 24-25, 2012
  • Mamma Mia - Aug. 26, 2012
  • John Fogerty - Sept. 19, 2012
  • SFHA Cougar Ball - Oct. 12, 2012
  • The Wiggles - Oct. 20, 2012
  • Jeff Dunham - Nov. 23, 2012
  • Celebration on Ice - Dec. 17, 2012
  • Farewell to Celebrate 100 Family Event - Dec. 30, 2012

2013 - 15 events

  • Celebrating 50 Years of Music - Feb. 9, 2013
  • The Tragically Hip - Feb. 12, 2013
  • Beauty and the Beast - Feb. 14, 2013
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - March 22, 2013
  • Mariana’s Trench - April 6, 2013
  • Team Jacobs Brier Championship Celebration - April 9, 2013
  • Telus Cup National Midget Championships - April 22-28, 2013
  • Passport to Unity - May 5, 2013
  • Electric Vehicle Green Transportation Show - May 15, 2013
  • Sault College Convocation - May 24, 2013
  • SFHA Wildcats Cougar Ball - Oct. 5, 2013
  • Carly Rae Jepsen - Oct. 10, 2013
  • ZZ Top - Nov. 8, 2013
  • A Masked Saint filming - Nov. 18, 2013
  • Dora the Explorer Live - Dec. 12, 2013

2014 - 12 events

  • Team Jacobs Olympic Gold Medal Game Viewing Party - Feb. 21, 2014
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - March 6, 2014
  • Community Olympic/Paralympic celebration - April 3, 2014
  • AAA OHF Championships - April 11-13, 2014
  • Passport to Unity - May 4, 2014
  • HSCDSB City Wide Mass - May 7, 2014
  • Little Ray's Reptile Zoo - May 23-25, 2014
  • Heart - June 20, 2014
  • Cirque du Soleil Drallion - Nov. 2-6, 2014
  • Brad Paisley - Nov. 14, 2014
  • Grand Slam of Curling - Nov. 19-23, 2014
  • Holiday Festival on Ice - Dec. 7, 2014

2015 - 7 events

  • Regional Synchro Figure Skating Championships - Feb. 13-14, 2015
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - March 5, 2015
  • Passport to Unity - May 3, 2015
  • #YOUTHESOO WE Day Event - May 14, 2015
  • Monster X - June 5 - 6, 2015
  • SAFA "Huddle" Glory Days Event -  June 20, 2015
  • FMX World Tour - Nov. 14, 2015

2016 - 20 events

  • Skate Canada Northern Ontario - Feb. 7, 2016
  • Bon Soo Passport to Unity - Feb. 14, 2016
  • The Next Step Wild Rhythm Tour - Feb. 21, 2016
  • The Next Step VIP Experience - Feb. 21, 2016
  • Johnny Reid - March 9, 2016
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - March 17, 2016
  • George Thorogood and the Destroyers - May 2, 2016
  • Forest of Reading Festival of Trees - May 27, 2016
  • Gord Bamford and Joe Nichols - May 28, 2016
  • Super Circus Spectacular - June 3, 2016
  • Queen Street Cruise - June 13, 2016
  • Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience - June 15, 2016
  • St. Mary's College Graduation Ceremony - June 29, 2016
  • Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada Convention - July 7-10, 2016
  • Centre for Social Justice and Good Works Talk On The Walk - Aug. 18, 2016
  • Dolly Parton - Pure and Simple Tour - Sept. 10, 2016
  • The Price is Right Live! - Sept. 28, 2016
  • NHL Preseason: Buffalo Sabres vs. Carolina Hurricanes - Oct. 5, 2016
  • World U-17 Hockey Challenge - Oct. 27 - Nov. 5, 2016
  • Boost National Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling - Dec. 6-11, 2016

2017 - 11 events

  • Brad Paisley: Life Amplified World Tour - Feb. 1, 2017
  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - Feb. 2, 2017
  • Festival of Stars: Northern Ontario STARSkate - Feb. 3-5, 2017
  • Wacky Wings Family Day Skate - Feb. 20, 2017
  • #youthesoo Youth Empowerment Movement - May 11, 2017
  • Forest of Reading Festival of Trees - May 19, 2017
  • TRAXXAS Monster Truck Destruction Tour - May 20, 2017
  • Super Circus Spectacular - May 26, 2017
  • St. Mary's College Graduation Ceremony - June 28, 2017
  • Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada Convention - July 21-23, 2017
  • Dokken with Firehouse - Sept. 30, 2017

2018 - 14 events

  • NHL Alumni Hockey Tour - Feb. 18, 2018
  • NOSSA Hockey - Mar. 5-6, 2018
  • Johnny Reid: Revival Tour - March 29, 2018
  • Open Ice 3 on 3 Tournament - April 26, 2018
  • Russell Peters: Deported World Tour - June 8, 2018
  • Queen Street Cruise - June 15-16, 2018
  • WatchTower Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses - June 22, 2018
  • St. Mary's College Graduation - June 27, 2018
  • Colour Run - July 21, 2018
  • GFL Memorial Gardens is renamed - Aug. 1, 2018
  • John Mellencamp: Sad Clowns and Hillbillies Tour - Oct. 11, 2018
  • The Thank You Canada Tour - Oct. 25, 2018
  • Remembrance Day Ceremony - Nov. 11, 2018
  • Bell Celebrity Skate - Nov. 12, 2018

2019 - 15 events

  • Special Olympics Ontario 2019 Winter Games - Jan. 31, 2019
  • NHL Alumni Benefit Hockey Tour - Feb. 18, 2019
  • Foreigner: Cold As Ice Tour - March 5, 2019
  • Rock of Ages - March 19, 2019
  • Harlem Globetrotters - April 17, 2019
  • Open Ice 3 on 3 Tournament - April 25, 2019
  • Canada's Circus Spectacular - June 1, 2019
  • All Ontario Chiefs Conference - June 11-13, 2019
  • Queen Street Cruise - June 14-15, 2019
  • St. Mary's College Graduation - June 26, 2019
  • Dean Brody and Dallas Smith: Friends Tour - Sept. 18, 2019
  • Rock The Rink - Oct. 29, 2019
  • Remembrance Day Ceremony - Nov. 11, 2019
  • The Offspring and Sum 41 - Nov. 19, 2019
  • Bell Celebrity Skate -  Nov. 26, 2019

2020 - 3 events (partial year)

  • We Will Rock You - Jan. 29, 2020
  • Lake State Lakers vs. Alabama-Huntsville Chargers - Feb. 15, 2020
  • Jeff Dunham: Seriously!? - Feb. 19, 2020



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David Helwig

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