Attracting Big A-List Concerts to the Sault, On the Agenda at City Hall

rock concert

A big complaint from concert goers in Sault Ste. Marie is, they have to travel to bigger cities to take in big name entertainment.

But the City of Sault Ste. Marie wants to change that. At the September 11th 2017 meeting a resolution was passed that created the Event Development Fund – this fund would authorize staff to transfer up to one dollar from the Facility fee to create the new fund to a maximum of $50,000.

Since then , the fund has only accumulated $34,000.

That $50,000 ask would be used to attract and book bigger acts for the GFL centre.

There’s only one problem, it’s not nearly enough to get the A-list acts to perform in Sault Ste. Marie.

The GFL Memorial Gardens (GFL) staff works in conjunction with promoters and artists to secure events for the community. It is becoming more common for promoters to request that the GFL co-produce events or purchase shows directly on their own. The Event Development Fund was created to aid this.
The cost to procure acts has outpaced the collection rate for the fund. At present the EDF has a balance of
$34,400. Many promoters are requesting upwards of $50,000 to $500,000 USD for an appearance fee.

“It has been increasingly difficult to source artists for the GFL post COVID. This is due to a number of factors: Promoters are demanding large up-front appearance fees which is making it more difficult for smaller markets to attract “A” list artists.” reads a report to council.

To remain competitive City staff are requesting funding of up to $150,000 annually for a two year pilot to purchase shows with delegated authority through the CFO-Treasurer and Deputy CAO CDES. The goal per concert or event is to break even and ultimately have little or minimal impact to the tax levy.

That will be the ask at this Monday’s regular council meeting.

The goal is to get the funding for a two-year period. To support their findings, City staff conducted a poll with local residents. The poll showed that the majority would like to see “Rock” concerts more than anything else. That was followed by Country music artists. Those responding to the poll said they would like to see 4 to 6 acts per year. The poll showed that most would be willing to pay up to $149 for a ticket to see a big name concert.

A-List acts costs big bucks to book. Many promoters are requesting upwards of $50,000 to $500,000 USD
for an appearance fee. On top of that are production costs. Depending on the acts, that could swell the costs up substantially .

The $150,000 will allow Sault Ste. Marie to at least have an opportunity to attract a “B” level act.

City staff are recommending that the report of the Director of Community Services concerning up-front funding for concerts and events at the GFL Memorial Gardens be received and that the supporting request be referred to the 2024 budget.


  • Craig Huckerby

    Craig Huckerby is a seasoned broadcast and media professional with over 43 years in local media. Starting in television, Craig became known as "the weather guy" on local television before pioneering internet media in the Sault. Craig is credited for bringing local television back to the Sault via the internet in 2003 with LTVNEWS.COM and was instrumental in launching and Craig has also won numerous International Film awards for director of the documentary, "Was I Next?, The Sean Cribbin Story"

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