Numbers were lower than organizers had hoped for the Mark Collie and “Lonestar” concerts held last weekend in conjunction with the Emo fall fair but entertainment committee members still want to stage another concert next year.
Ed Gellately, who sits on the entertainment committee of the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society fair board, said the concerts did all right considering it was the first time they performed at the fair.
“I think we did all right,” he said. “We’ve been told by other organizations that you’ll lose money three times before it gets going.”
“Sometimes, it takes a lot of trial and error to get it right,” echoed Morris Judson, who also sits on the entertainment committee with his wife, Cindy.
Gellately attributed some of the low attendance to the nine-week-old strike at the Abitibi-Consolidated mill in Fort Frances.
Even though the grandstand wasn’t packed, Gellately noted the total turnout for both nights was higher than last year when the stock car races ran Friday and Saturday nights during the fair.
And both said they’ve heard plenty of positive comments from those who went to the concerts.
“‘Lonestar’ was awesome and Mark Collie was good,” Gellately said, noting everyone seemed quite pleased with the entertainers. “We sure were grateful for everybody that came out.”
“Anybody that was out at the concert has said don’t give up this thing,” added Judson.
In fact, the entertainment committee already has received several suggestions on how to boost attendance next year, Judson said. One was a reduced rate for children aged 12 and under.
“If they couldn’t bring their kids, they couldn’t come,” he added, noting many parents said they couldn’t find baby-sitters during the fair.
Another idea is to have corporate sponsors buy tickets instead of just selling them.
How much to sell advance tickets for, whether bands should be playing for one night or two, and what kind of music to bring in are all areas the entertainment committee will have to touch on if the fair board decides to bring in another concert next year.
And both men are hoping to be able to do that.
“We still want to work away at it,” Judson said. “I want another kick at the cat to do it.”
“I know three people are going to go to the board and fight for another concert,” Gellately added. “Too much energy has been spent not to keep going.”