Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post 1386 – Concerts on the Commons

I received word today that Harold MacKay at Power Promotional Events folded today.  It was his company that hosted concerts at the Halifax Common over the last few years.  Here: Read all about it.

Last year, I wrote a blog post, part of the Things in Halifax That Don’t Make Sense series, in which I discussed how much I dislike the idea of a private company using a public space and accepting public funding, for a private purpose.  Specifically, I hated how the Common is used for a private purpose.  Because of these concerts, sports teams have lost their playing fields for a time, unfettered use of the Common is compromised, and private companies get to charge admission to what is a public space.

The Common is only about one third the size it used to be, having been whittled away over the years by schools, hospitals, the CBC television building, and other things.  These are arguably for the public good, and there’s nothing we can do about the loss of this land; but any future or current attempts to reduce our access to what is left should be resisted.

There have been reports that the attendance at concerts has been grossly inflated.  Paul McCartney didn’t have 50000 attendees; they say he only had 25000.  Tickets for the Black-Eyed Peas were given away to get people to go.  Thousands others stood outside the concert venue, on the street, a short distance away on Citadel Hill, and heard the show for free, and even saw it on the massive screens that were helpfully put up.  Why pay $100+ to see something, and be unable to leave once you enter, when you can catch it at no cost and come and go as you please?  Why?

This whole thing is a mess.  The company is toast, and owes a ton of coin to various creditors, and how many of them will actually see what they’re owed? 

I’m all for concerts in the downtown.  I just want them to go to the Garrison Grounds, which has been a home to such shows since the 1940’s.  They can accommodate 25000 or so folks, which is plenty. 

If you want to discuss this further, go ahead.  I love a good argument.



kevin.tillman said...

hmmm, how about we argue about the word 'Common' vs 'Commons' ?

Bevboy said...

Not sure there's any point in arguing that, Kevin. I've heard both terms. I use them interchangeably. I think you mentioned before that "Common" is the preferred term, or am I misremembering?

Sandell said...

This is an uncommon discussion!

kevin.tillman said...

Wikipedia says 'local popular usage more often referred to as the Commons' So if its more often used, does that make it more correct ?

"The Commmons" which used to be much larger was divided over the years by roadways. Not too long ago, Haligonians used to often say 'North Common' or 'West Common' etc. But collectively they/we called them 'The Commons' I'm guessing that Commons is more correct because of its popular usage and possibility of the plural form of "Common" ;)

So getting to your actual argument, our elected officials have approved
the splitting, and shrinking of the vast 'Common' to what is now 'the Commons' it only is logical that they can approve whatever use they see fit, our only recourse is to elect others to adjust the laws/by-laws according to our wishes. :(

Now if we could only get people to pronounce 'Gottingen' correctly.

Sandell said...


While you're debating the merits / demerits of the "Common" versus "Commons" terminology, may I ask why do we call that area between Spering Garden Road, South Park and Summer Streets "Halifax Public Gardens" (plural) even though it's really one big garden (singular)?


kevin.tillman said...

oh no. Your question 'why isn't it called Halifax Public Garden' is going to be stuck in my head... likely forever :)