Concerts on the Hill: Looking beyond the economic arguments

By Hawk Vice President and Creative Director, François Giroux

Every time a show is announced for the Magnetic Hill concert site a debate ensues about the economic viability of holding such an event. Those debates are not reserved for our hometown alone. Take for instance Montreal, a city known for its world-renowned festivals and events, some still question the numbers and demand to see concrete dollars and cents in relation to how those events will impact the city’s balance sheets.

But despite our need to be responsible managers of public funds, it’s also important to look beyond just the numbers to calculate the other real advantages of hosting major concerts in our city. What we can learn from Montreal is that there are intangible effects that a balance sheet will not show.

There’s no denying that mega events like the Montreal International Jazz Festival or Festival Juste Pour Rire have greatly contributed, over time, to Montreal’s reputation as one of the great entertainment cities in this country, if not the continent. That fame does not only attract tourists, it encourages locals to stay in town and spend their dollars at home. But perhaps more importantly it contributes to reinforcing Montreal’s persona as a creative city, one that attracts artistic talent – people with ideas, projects, and visions.

In the same fashion (albeit on a smaller scale), the succession of large concerts hosted by the city of Moncton, combined with the many annual festivals held here, are contributing into branding Moncton as “The Entertainment Capital of the Maritimes”. Events like the Magnetic Hill Music Festival not only help promote ‘brand Moncton’ on a national stage (which is an incredible benefit for a city our size), they add to the cultural health of this city.  They help keep Moncton youthful, energetic, and position it as fun place to live and play.

The Montreal example clearly demonstrates that there are intangible effects that a numbers alone will not show, ones that we should be considering when deciding whether or not to host big events here, because they are things that work towards defining our city’s brand.

Let’s keep looking at art and entertainment as a viable way to not only bring in new revenues, but also energize our city, keep us in a good mood, and perhaps most importantly, help shape the image we and future visitors have of this city.

Because Moncton totally Rocks!

Posted on February 13, 2015 .