In recent days, our well-known Salmon Festival has been the subject of public discussion. As Mayor of the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, I appreciate this opportunity to address the issues at hand.
Salmon Festival truly is a gem for both our Town and our province. It is a tourist attraction that showcases Newfoundland and Labrador, injects liveliness into the local community, and contributes to the economy.
This year, for the first time in the 29-year history of Salmon Festival, attendance exceeded 25,000 people. I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are about these numbers and the potential we see for great concerts in the future. However, we also know we have a lot to learn about hosting a festival of this magnitude.
We’ve received a lot of feedback from attendees, and we appreciate it. Many people had absolutely fantastic things to say, particularly about the caliber of the entertainment, the performances themselves, and the overall experience. However, some people also had criticisms. Long wait lines at the concessions, a shortage of water and overcrowding in the VIP area were the main concerns.
We truly understand and sympathize with people’s frustrations. We know that Festival attendees’ expectations weren’t fully met. I personally want to reassure everyone that we’re working diligently with everyone concerned to address these concerns and improve on the experience going forward.
Salmon Festival is important to the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, and we’re committed to ensuring it continues to be a point of pride for our Town and our Province. Huge thanks goes to our staff and volunteers for their hard work. We’re particularly proud of the team of professionals who were on site that included several doctors, nurses and even a psychiatrist so that the health and safety of all attendees remained a priority throughout the event. In fact, of the 25,000 attendees a very small number, seven, were actually referred for assistance beyond our on-the-ground team – not the large numbers that have been inferred publicly. We’re also pleased with the seamless flow of events from beginning to end – from one performance to the next, as well as a quick conclusion to the concert, with all 25,000 attendees exiting the premises in approximately half an hour. And, to our sponsors who see value in the Salmon Festival brand, we want to assure you the event will continue to represent a quality sponsorship opportunity.
We also extend thanks to everyone who came out this year to enjoy the concert and show their support for Salmon Festival. We sincerely hope you enjoyed the performances. We apologize for the disruptions to your enjoyment of the concert, and we look forward to seeing you (as well as some new faces) next year.
Town of Grand Falls-Windsor