Are you getting the concerts you deserve in your own home town arena? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Are you getting the concerts you deserve in your own home town arena?

Elton John was one of the biggest names to play at Prospera Place in 2010 but he didn't come back as part of his final world tour in 2018.
Image Credit: (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
October 01, 2019 - 7:00 AM

When it comes to drawing big name entertainers, Kamloops, Kelowna and Penticton are all competing for the same pool of talent.

It didn’t have to be this way.

The biggest venues for bands are the hockey arenas in each city that were, primarily, built for the local hockey teams. But when it comes to entertainment, all three are about the same size near 5,000 seats.

“Had I been involved from the beginning with the construction and planning of the building in Penticton, which I wasn’t, I probably would have suggested they increase the capacity,” Jim Cressman, president and CEO of Invictus Entertainment Group, told iNFOnews.ca. Another 2,000 seats would have been ideal, he said.

He started his agency about the same time the South Okanagan Events Centre was being built. Invictus is now the largest privately owned booking agency in Canada.

In all that time, he has yet to book into nearby Prospera Place in Kelowna. That's partly because of the relationship he's built with the management in Penticton. Such relationships are key to putting on often financially risky concerts.

The South Okanagan Events Centre is the newest of the three venues, opening in 2008 for the B.C. Junior Hockey League Penticton Vees. Kelowna’s Prospera Place opened in 1999 with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League while the Sandman Centre is the oldest of the three, opening in 1992 with the Blazers, also in the Western Hockey League.

While hockey drives the revenue for all three facilities, entertainment can be a big revenue generator. But, concert promotion is risky and there are different marketing models.

The arenas in Penticton and Kamloops are owned by those cities. They contract to outside agencies to run them. That means there is an annual fee negotiated and, ultimately, each city is on the hook if there are overruns.

Kelowna’s rink was a Public-Private Partnership with R.G. Properties where the operator takes all the risk for 30 years before turning it back to the city.

Dean Clarke is general manager of Spectra Venue Management, which has run the South Okanagan Events Centre since it opened in 2008 and just won a 10-year contract extension last June.

He explained that Penticton’s emphasis is on the economic benefits of the facility so, if he can put on shows that attract people to Penticton for overnight stays, that’s a bonus. But, he still has a budget to meet and tries to make money for Spectra.

“Ninety per cent of the time Spectra is at risk at concerts,” he said.

Spectra pays the deposits to the bands and promotes the events but, if they fail to sell enough tickets or the event has to cancelled, Spectra is at risk.

“We’re asked to make sure we have a balanced events schedule,” Clarke said. “There are years when we’ve been aggressive and years we have to be very wary of the amount of the dollars available in the community.”

Bringing Marilyn Manson to Penticton in 2015 showed there was a big market for heavy metal music there.
Bringing Marilyn Manson to Penticton in 2015 showed there was a big market for heavy metal music there.
Image Credit: Contributed

It does seem to be succeeding in bringing more people to Penticton.

“I would say that 60 per cent of the tickets we sell are from outside of Penticton,” Carla Seddon, the centre’s director of marketing said, adding that heavy metal acts draw well from Kamloops and some fans come from as far away as Prince George.

Kamloops has a similar arrangement with a contractor - Jelly Events. They refused to be interviewed for this story but Barbara Berger, cultural manager for the City of Kamloops, said they draw from the pool including the South Okanagan for their shots and recalls a group from Vernon renting a bus to attend an event at the Sandman.

Prospera, on the other hand, has an in-house promotions department run by Dave Dakers who brings in entertainers for Kelowna and a similar facility run by R.G. Properties in Victoria.

“We’re certainly the busiest building outside of Vancouver in a secondary market and, arguably, the busiest secondary market building in Canada,” Dakers said.

He cited the example of bringing John Mellencamp to Kelowna last year.

“We contacted their management,” Dakers said. “It took about three years. We created a tour around it, bought our two shows and sold the rest off. We created an anchor to start from and actively found other facilities who wanted to buy the show as well.”

The fact that the 2019 concert season has not been great has more to do with the Canadian dollar than with any lack of effort by promoters, he said and others agreed.

There is also the risk of audience fatigue – especially on the financial front.

“We’re criticized if we don’t bring enough but we take significant risks as a city and as a company if we bring too many,” Clarke said. “If we did 20 Elton John shows, there’d be no money left for the Penticton Vees.”

WHO IS BRINGING IN THE CROWDS?

Pollstar, a company that provides data on concert attendance, sent iNFOnews.ca reports on concerts at all three centres for more than 10 years. Since the South Okanagan Events Centre opened in 2008, we only went back that far.

On a numbers basis, it shows Dakers’ claim of being the busiest carries some weight. A rough tally shows Prospera landing 136 events versus 111 in Penticton and 97 in Kamloops. That’s not totally accurate as some events, such as Cirque du Soleil, may stretch over a number of days.

Usually there is only one performance in the region by a particular artist so, for the most part, they are not travelling, say, from Penticton one night to Kamloops the next. There are some agreements in place not to play adjoining cities back to back.

One of the most frequent performers throughout the region was Hedley which played nine times over 10 years.

They first arrived in Kamloops in 2008 then played all three cities in 2010 (Penticton in March, Kamloops and Kelowna back to back in September).

Despite Penticton drawing the biggest crowd of the three cities in 2010 (3,409) Hedley never went back there and they only returned once more to Kamloops, in 2014. But they played Kelowna every second year before their final concert anywhere in 2018. The band stopped touring because of a sex scandal.

Preferring Kelowna may be due to drawing bigger crowds. Even though Sandman and Prospera each set up for 4,500 or more seats in both 2010 and 2014, Kamloops only filled 43 per cent of theirs in 2010 and 60 per cent in 2014. Kelowna hit 57 and 89 per cent.

WHO’S GOT TALENT?

Which facility brings in the biggest name performers is, of course, subject to taste.

Kelowna can brag about Elton John, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart and Shania Twain but who is worth dishing out hard cash to see is an individual choice.

Decide for yourself which arena better serves its community with top name billings.

STOCK IMAGE
STOCK IMAGE

SANDMAN CENTRE - KAMLOOPS
2019

Blue Man Group
Marty O’Reilly

2018
John Mellencamp
Corteo – Cirque du Soleil
George Thorogood and Damon Fowler
Dirty Dancing
The Price is Right
The Illusionists
Riverdance
Johnny Reid and Jessica Mitchell
Dwight Yoakam
Old Dominion, The Washboard Union and Cold Creek County

2017
Brit Floyd
Dallas Smith, Michael Ray and Lauren Alaina
Dean Brody, Madeline Merlo and James Barker Band
Kip Moore and River Town Saints
Tom Cochrane

2016
Bryan Adams
Theresa Caputo
Marianas Trench and Walk Off The Earth
Johnny Reid, Natalie MacMaster, JJ Shiplett and Aaron Goodvin


2015
Barenaked Ladies and Alan Doyle
Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell, Tyler Farr and Dee Jay Silver
The Tragically Hip
John Fogerty
Burton Cummings
Sam Roberts Band

2014
Dralion – Cirque du Soleil
Sarah McLachlan
George Thorogood
Florida Georgia Line, Dallas Smith and Chris Lane
Phillip Phillips and Twin Forks
Hedley, Danny Fernandes, JRDN and Alyssa Reid
The Band Perry, Easton Corbin and Lindsay Ell

2013
Great Big Sea
Reba and Gord Bamford & Heartland
Mother Mother
Billy Talent, Sum 41, Hollerado and Indian Handcrafts
The Tenors
Eric Church and Colt Ford
The Tragically Hip and Arkells
Nelly Furtado

2012
Theory of a Deadman/Big Wreck
Cesar Millan: The Dog Whisperer
Marianas Trench and Down with Webster
Quidam – Cirque du Soleil
Bryan Adams
Johnny Reid
Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance
Paul Brandt and High Valley
Dierks Bentley (3 shows)

2011
Moscow Ballet – Great Russian nutcracker
54-40
Avril Lavigne and The New Cities
The Moody Blues
Xtreme Muzik/Big & Rich/Gretchen Wilson
INXS
KISS
Burton Cummings
Riverdance
Heart

2010
Terri Clark
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
Johnny Reid and The Stellas
Hedley and These Kids Wear Crowns
Algeria – Cirque du Soleil
George Thorogood and J.J. Grey
Billy Talent
Larry the Cable Guy
Pink Floyd Experience
Blue Rodeo and Cuff The Duke
Three Days Grace and Default

2009
ZZ Top and Charlie Major
Alan Jackson
Collective Soul
Crash Parallel
Brooks & Dunn and Gord Bamford and Heartland
Sean Kingston and New Boyz
John Fogerty
Celtic Thunder
The Rankin Family and Destino
Civeda, Suzie McNeil, Evgeni Plushenko and Joshua Allan
Sam Roberts Band and The Stills

2008
Corb Lund
Jesus Christ Superstar
Backstreet Boys
Chris Cornell
David Copperfield
Bob Dylan
Toby Keith, Aaron Pritchett and Jessie Farrell
Alice Cooper and Econoline Crush
Randy Travis
Hedley, Rides Again and The Latency
George Thorogood, Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
The Wiggles
The Cult and The Clicks
Avril Lavigne and Boys Like Girls

PROSPERA
2019

Corey Hart and Glass Tiger
Judas Priest
Kinky Boots
The Arkells and Lord Huron
Dierks Bentley

2018
John Mellencamp
The Glorious Sons and The Beaches
Rod Stewart
Corteo – Cirque Du Soleil
Chicago
Rock the Lake: Nazareth, Little River Band, Stampeders
Rock the Lake: Glass Tiger, The Sweet, Barney Bentall
Rock the Lake: Randy Bachman, Men Without Hats, Ian Thomas
Bryan Adams
Jerry Seinfeld
Dirty Dancing
Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton
Riverdance
Our Lady Peace & Matthew Good
Hedley
Brantley Gilbert, Tim Hicks and Josh Phillips
Santana
Johnny Reid and Jessica Mitchell

2017
Jim Jefferies
So You Think You Can Dance
Theresa Caputo
Chris Lane
Daniel O’Donnell
Miranda Lambert and Brandy Clark
Rock The Lake with Honeymoon Suite, Chilliwack and Helix
Rock the Lake with Kim Mitchell, Rik Emmett and Sass Jordan
Rock the Lake with April Wine, Platinum Blonde and Toronto
Nazareth
Bob Dylan
Jeff Dunham
Tim Hicks, Chad Brownlee and Jojo Mason

2016
Roger Hodgson
Just For Laughs Dane Cook
Culture Club
Gabriel Iglesias
Dwight Yoakam
John Cleese and Eric Idle
Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth and The Standstills
Keith Urban
Rock The Lake with Trooper, Saga and Nick Gilder
Rock the Lake with Streetheart, Harlequin and Lee Aaron
Rock the Lake with Loverboy and Prism
Jim Jefferies
City And Colour and Shakey Graves
Hedley with Carly Rae Jepsen and Francesco Yates
George Thorogood and Ben Miller Band
Gord Bamford, Heartland/Joe Nichols and The Washboard Union
ZZ Top with Tim Montana And The Shrednecks
Marianas Trench and Walk Off The Earth
Blue Rodeo
So You Think You Can Dance

2015
Three Days Grace
Little Big Town
Tim Hicks with Cold Creek County and Jason Benoit
Shania Twain and Bastian Baker
Barenaked Ladies and Alan Doyle
Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell and Tyler Farr
Dean Brody, Paul Brandt and Lindi Ortega
Aerosmith and Living Colour
Theresa Caputo
Diana Krall
Counting Crows and Twin Forks
Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Tragically Hip
Bryan Adams

2014
Sarah McLachlan
Brad Paisley
Alan Jackson and Hey Romeo
Russell Peters
Heart and Jason Bonham
Luke Bryan, Lee Brice and Cole Swindell
Collective Soul
Yes
ZZ Top
Chicago
Hedley, Danny Fernandes, JRDN and Alyssa Reid
Blue Rodeo

2013
Dixie Chicks and Charlie Mars
KISS and Shinedown
Sting
Jerry Seinfeld

2012
Journey
Metric and Stars
Russell Peters
John Fogerty, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real
Quidam by Cirque du Soleil
Johnny Reid
Jeff Dunham
Hedley with Classified, Karl Wolf and Kay Goldilocks

2011
Avril Lavigne and The New Cities
Michael Buble
Supertramp
Burton Cummings
Kid Rock
Sarah McLachlan

2010
Johnny Reid and The Stellas
Hedley and These Kids Wear Crowns
Alegria - Cirque du Soleil
Bryan Adams
Elton John
Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles
Three Days Grace with Default and illScarlett

2009
Rankin Family and Destino
Kelowna Home Show
New Kids On The Block and Jabbawockeez
Neil Young and Everest
Video Games Live
Il Divo
Jeff Dunham and Brian Haner
Bachman Cummings and Booker T. Jones
Blue Man Group
Jay Z, N*E*R*D, Wale and J. Cole
Stone Temple Pilots and Crash Kings
Holiday Festival of Creations
Jann Arden
Kelly Clarkson and Parachute
So You Think You Can Dance Canada (twice)

2008
Nine Inch Nails and The Bug
Kenny Rogers
David Copperfield
Sheryl Crow and The Jim Cuddy Band
Lenny Kravitz, Sloan and Thornley
James Taylor
Kid Rock
Mark Knopfler and Jesca Hoop
Anne Murray and Dawn Langstroth
Paul Brandt and Shane Yellowbird
Avril Lavigne and Boys Like Girls
John Mellencamp, Tom Cochrane & Red Rider
Michael Buble
Big & Rich, Cowboy Troy and Terri Clark

SOUTH OKANAGAN EVENTS CENTRE - PENTICTON

2019
STYX
Blue Man Group
Godsmack/Volbeat
Blue Man Group
Little Big Town

2018
Three Days Grace
Celtic Thunder
Slayer
Kip Moore and Drake White And The Big Fire
George Thorogood and Damon Fowler
Crystal – Cirque du Soleil
Shinedown, In this Moment, One Bad Son and 10 Years
Old Dominion, The Washboard Union and Cold Creek County

2017
Jerry Seinfeld and Mark Schif
Dallas Smith, Michael Ray and Lauren Alaina
Foreigner
I Love the 90’s Tour with Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa and C&C Music Factory
Weezer, The Trews and The Flatliners
Cash Cash
Dierks Bentley, Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi
Blue Rodeo and Ron Hawkins

2016
Cirque Musica
Celtic Thunder
Bryan Adams
“Mamma Mia”
Slayer, Anthrax and Death Angel
Alice Cooper
Five Finger Death Punch/Papa Roach and Sixx: A.M.
Rob Thomas
Don Henley
Meat Loaf
Lamb of God, Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity
The Price is Right
Michael Flatley’s ”Lord of the Dance”
The Chainsmokers
Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, Children of Bodom and Havok
Kip Moore and The Cadillac Three

2015
Ringo Starr, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie and Richard Page
The Tenors
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Brit Floyd
Journey
Varekai – Cirque du Soleil
Def Leppard
Marilyn Manson
Celtic Thunder
“So You Think You Can Dance”

2014
Cirque Musica
John Fogerty
Doobie Brothers and Lara Johnston
“Safe in Sound Festival,” Caked Up, Destroid and Flux Pavillion
Alice in Chains, Danko Jones and The Pack A.D.
Kenny Rogers
Steve Miller Band
Matthew Curry
Florida Georgia Line, Dallas Smith and Chris Lane
Kenny Rogers
Barenaked Ladies, Ladies of the Canyon and Clara Venice
The Band Perry, Easton Corbin and Lindsay Ell

2013
Matthew Good and Gentlemen Husbands
Loretta Lynn and Brett Kissel
Dwight Yoakam and Brett Kissel
Bad Company and Murray Atkinson
Celtic Thunder
Brad Paisley, The Henningsens and Kristen Kelly
Alan Jackson
Motley Crue and Big Wreck
Heart
Eric Church and Colt Ford

2012
Cesar Millan: The Dog Whisperer
Rain – A Tribute To The Beatles
Blake Shelton
Avicii
John Mellencamp
George Thorogood and Gordie Johnson
B.B. King
Paul Brandt
Simple Plan and Marianas Trench

2011
Keith Urban
Dralion – Cirque du Soleil
Toby Keith and George Canyon

2010
Carrie Underwood
Howie Mandel
Martina McBride
The Beach Boys and Shawn Hook
Randy Travis
Newsboys
Michael Bolton
Hedley
Reba
Billy Talent, Alexisonfire, Against Me!, Cancer Bats
Pink Floyd Experience

2009
Johnny Reid
Great Big Sea and The Dustin Bentall Outfit
ZZ Top
Alan Jackson
Johnny Reid
Brooks & Dunn and Gord Bamford & Heartland
Buckcherry
Gallagher
The Tragically Hip
Marianas Trench
Bill Cosby
Blue Oyster Cult
Foghat
Charley Pride and Stephen Pride
Blue Rodeo
The Rankin Family and Destino

2008
Jann Arden
Finger Eleven and The Dudes
Feist and Hayden


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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