Pepsi Centre too small for acts like Tim McGraw: promoter

Diane Crocker
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Singer Tim McGraw is shown in this January 2014 file photo.

The problem with attracting bigger acts to Corner Brook lies in the size of the available venue, according to one concert promoter.

Vaughn Rowsell is part owner of 5th String Entertainment. The company is bringing Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town 2014 Tour to St. John’s for three shows at Mile One Centre in August.

Rowsell said Thursday that Corner Brook’s Pepsi Centre isn’t big enough to support bringing the show here.

“Mile One, for instance, their setup for Tim’s show is 6,800 people, so it’s close to 7,000 people, whereas the Pepsi Centre, you’d probably only get around, stretching it, 4,500, 4,600 people,” said Rowsell.

“So it is quite a bit of difference in the numbers. We would have to charge a ticket price (that’s) outrageous to get him to come to that type of venue.

“And believe it or not those extra 1,000, 1,500 seats that Mile One has makes all the difference in the world of making an affordable ticket price.”

He said from a promotion standpoint there is also some apprehension over the reputation the city has for buying tickets at the last minute.

“We kind of get scared sometimes,” he said and added “and then shows have to be cancelled.”

While McGraw will fly into St. John’s for the shows, it’s very likely his crew and equipment will pass through the city en route to St. John’s. Rowsell said that happens with a lot of shows. It did last year when Alan Jackson visited St. John’s and just recently when Toby Keith performed at Mile One.

“And believe me the fact that we have to pass by Corner Brook, it’s a pain because we want to put shows there,” said Rowsell. “We want to start bringing stuff to Corner Brook. It just makes sense.”

So while a Tim McGraw show seems out of the question, Rowsell said other shows are in the works.

He visited the city in March, met with Pepsi Centre management and toured the building.

“We’ve got irons in the fire now to try to get some acts to come in there.”

He wouldn’t say who, just that they are all fairly big acts.

And Rowsell is not the only one who’d like to see a show stop here.

Nicole Wheeler of Halfway Point has started a Facebook event aimed at seeing that happen.

“I would love to see Tim McGraw come to Corner Brook,” said Wheeler. “He’s playing three shows in St. John’s. Seriously, I’m sure he could swing in and throw us a show.”

The event page, Tim McGraw — Please come to Corner Brook, was launched a week ago and has about 1,300 people who say they would attend a concert.

“That’s just on Facebook,” said Wheeler and added “not everyone has Facebook.”

As part of the campaign she’s sent numerous emails to people connected with the tour and posted to McGraw’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Supporters of the idea have also done the same. But so far, she said there’s been no response.

She’s even called the Pepsi Centre, the City of Corner Brook and Mile One and contacted the local media.

“This is not something I normally do,” said Wheeler. “I just went out on a wing and said ‘you know what it’s no harm in trying.’”

The event may be devoted to McGraw, but overall Wheeler said there needs to be a change here in the city when it comes to entertainment.

“I’d like to somehow breathe some life back into Corner Brook,” said the self-described big music fan. “I will try to do my best to support whatever comes here.”

In the meantime, she plans to continue to pursue getting McGraw to perform here.

“August is still a ways away.”

And who knows, it may just make a difference, because Rowsell has seen the Facebook page.

“I take note of that stuff,” he said. “It’s incredible actually to see the number of people.”

Organizations: Pepsi Centre

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Alvina
    May 23, 2014 - 18:57

    I'm all for attending a great concert in corner brook. However it appears that west coast dollars are not the same color as the east coast of Newfoundland . Pretty insulting when you think about it. There is much much more to Newfoundland than just St.Johns. I thought it was all about fans first & money second. Do they realize without fans, there would be no money. Something to think about.

  • Trish
    May 23, 2014 - 14:00

    I'm sorry but people are not gonna rush out to buy tickets for mediocre shows. I took my kids to classified last year and like atleast 50% of what was there were pre teen age. The show focused on swearing and drugs. It's was awful, they played 1 good song. One of the opening acts were better.That is why people don't rush out to buy tickets. They are not bringing in the top shows, maybe because the space is not there but I yet to see a show brought in that people feel they just have to see. It's disgraceful actually. Then to say it has nothing to do with concert promoters and Pepsi center management, have to say I disagree. I think the past speaks for itself. Why not give us something good for a change. Someone that is popular today and not a has been. Someone that you would actually consider music and just have to see, not someone jumping around a stage and yelling drugs over and over to a crowd of kids. I just wish someone would come that we rush out to buy tickets in fear of them selling out. We will never see it. We will just keep getting the ones who are looking popularity or have it long gone.

  • Jonathan
    May 23, 2014 - 13:11


  • Nicole wheeler
    May 23, 2014 - 11:50

    I appreciate all the support , im not giving up just yet. Id be willing to pay more money for tickets and wait in line. Ive done so on box office oponings like johnny reid and hedley. Other than social media theyre is plenty of people who would love to see Tim McGraw! My page will stay posted on fb, team work !

  • Trish
    May 23, 2014 - 09:15

    We will get the crappie shows like always, maybe Deer Lake needs to take a stand here and build a huge building that could put in a decent movie theatre and a place for big concerts.Corner Brook always seem to be on the back burner when it comes to business. They lack something. If by some chance he does come I'll take 5 tickets :)

  • wp
    May 23, 2014 - 09:08

    It's really simple. Bring in the right act and it will sell out. The criteria should be "current". Gordon Lightfoot is not current. Tim McGraw is current. Bryan Adams is current. etc.etc. etc.

  • speaking truth
    May 23, 2014 - 07:38

    Folks want these shows in Corner Brook but then complain about the ticket price, yet they will drive to St. John's for the same shows (and a trip to Costco). Or they delay getting their tickets then complain that the show was cancelled due to slow ticket sales. Pepsi Centre mgmt. or concert promoters are not the obstacles - cheep, cranky Corner Brookers are.

    • Sandra
      May 23, 2014 - 11:49

      Well said! It's the "Corner Brooker attitude' that is bringing this terrific city down! Arrogance and exclusionary attitudes make it very difficult to like this place.

  • Country lover
    May 23, 2014 - 07:24

    The extra cost in tickets to have big acts like Tim McGraw in Corner brook will still be considerably cheaper than having to drive to St. Johns and stay at a hotel for the night. I frequent the "Big city" 2-3 times a year to concerts.

  • Todd Perry
    May 23, 2014 - 07:04

    We got an awesome park that is made for concerts Prince Edward Park would be awesome to hold an event like this.

  • francine
    May 23, 2014 - 05:54

    would love to see the show producer schedule a show in Corner Brook. Not going to happen though unless people support it. I want four tickets.