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Parks Canada details charges to Harold MacKay for Metallica show

Unlike for Common concerts, use of Garrison Grounds requires upfront payment, cut of ticket and concession sales.


I just got off the phone with Theresa Bunbury at Parks Canada, who I had called to find out what Harold MacKay of MacKay Entertainment was paying for rental of the Garrison Grounds for the July 14 Metallica show.

While Bunbury wouldn't give me the exact terms of the contract, she did say it was a standard contract for such concerts. There is a one-day charge of $10,000 for use of the grounds, plus a $750/day set-up and strike charge. She did not know how many days for set up and removal of gear had been negotiated.

In addition to those charges, Parks Canada also gets some of the ticket sales---typically $1.50 per ticket, says Bunbury. So if 30,000 tickets are sold for the Metallica show, Parks Canada would get an additional $45,000.

I asked Bunbury what happens if MacKay gives away thousands of free tickets---does Park Canada get the $1.50 for free tix? She did not know.

Additionally, Parks Canada also typically gets a cut of concession sales, but Bunbury did not have those particulars.

The $10,000 and set-up and strike fees have all been paid for the Metallica show, she said.

I couldn't help but think that Parks Canada has a much tighter grip on renting out its facility than does the city of Halifax for renting out the Common.

Parks Canada charges $10,000 per day; the city of Halifax donates $100,000 of support.

Parks Canada gets payment from the promoter in advance; the city advances the promoter money.

Parks Canada charges set-up and strike fees; the city of Halifax gives away the use of its facility for free, for weeks at a time.

Park Canada gets a cut of ticket sales; the city of Halifax uses ticket sales money as a sort of fictional collateral to loan money back to the promoter.

Parks Canada gets a cut of concession sales; the city of Halifax does not.

I've always been ambivalent about having concerts on the Common---there's nothing wrong with having Common concerts in theory, but it was obvious from the get-go that in practice the city was bungling the job. I doubt anyone at city hall will be rushing to get back into the concert biz, but if they ever do, I suggest they take a good hard look at how Parks Canada deals with concerts; the city should adopt similar practices.

For The Coast's complete coverage of the Common concert financing scandal, click here.

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