Stones Gig Irks Neighbors

Moncton, New Brunswick, officials may be excited about The Rolling Stones‘ September 3rd concert at the 114,000-capacity Magnetic Hill Concert Centre but some residents feel otherwise.

About 200 people who live near the site at Magnetic Hill Theme Park aren’t too thrilled with the city’s decision to temporarily close some residential streets during the concert to manage the expected gridlock from about 80,000 concert-goers. They’ve complained that the closures will keep them and their Labor Day weekend guests from driving to their homes.

City of Moncton Community Development Director Ian Fowler said the issue is being worked out with as little inconvenience as possible. The city has hosted other large events, such as Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1984 and a classic rock concert in 1998.

“I think they’re a little frustrated because we didn’t involve them earlier in the planning process,” Fowler told Pollstar. “There’s never been an event of this magnitude in Moncton, let alone Atlantic Canada, so there’s been a lot of work to put it together from the local side of things and a lot of challenges.

“But I think it’s fair to say as an organizing committee in conjunction with the promoter, we’ve got a workable plan and public safety will be front and center.”

Fowler added that officials are offering residents the option to park in a secured area just outside of the restricted section where shuttle service will be provided. The city has also contracted with about 15 land owners to use their surrounding property as parking lots.

“I think, in reality, the issues that we’re facing would be no different than many facilities that aren’t designed for this type of traffic flow on a permanent basis,” he said.

The massive event has organizers poring over every detail for the impending influx of concert-goers to the city of 65,000 people. The first 75,000 tickets that went on sale in April sold out in three days. Another 10,000 tickets were made available August 12th.

Joining the Stones on the September 3rd bill are Maroon 5, The Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace, and Les Troix Accords.

“We knew when we were approached to potentially host the event that it was going to be a big challenge,” Fowler said. “It’s without question bigger than we thought it would be but … it hasn’t scared us; it’s brought the community together.

— Tina Amendola