Cobourg Entertainment Scene Update

One of the ways Cobourg’s Community Centre can recover costs is to hold major concerts. With 2500 seats, they can stage big names – like upcoming Country and Western star Chris Janson who will come to Cobourg June 15. Last year, one of Canada’s big name bands – Blue Rodeo – was also here. Tickets for the Chris Janson event are around $100 and will go on sale shortly. Getting the word out in Cobourg requires an effort – there are web sites, newsletters, posters in shop windows and social media. Various attempts have been made to consolidate entertainment calendars but people generally won’t look online for something if they don’t already know it’s there. I try to help but like general news, there’s more than one way to find out what’s happening in the entertainment scene.

Online Entertainment Information (selected)

  • Concert Hall Box Office – operated by the Town and provides ticket sales to many Cobourg Events
  • Cobourg Calendar – operated by Cobourg Internet (that’s me) – “featured events” page includes information on most single day events. Other pages list annual events, available mailing lists, other calendars and more.
  • Northumberland Players – lists all their upcoming events
  • Cobourg Loft Productions – lists Ken Prue’s events
Chris Janson
Chris Janson

One good way to get the word out is via mailing lists.

Available Mailing lists

These are free – you can sign up or unsubscribe at any time.

Major event

But the big news of course is that once again Cobourg will be host to a world class entertainer – Chris Janson. You can learn all about him here. As well as Chris, local performers will be featured: Jeremy Macklin, Nickola Magnolia and Western Avenue. I would also note that the event is being jointly produced by the Town and “Northumberland Rocks Back”. (Graham Beer is the Chair and Executive Producer of “Northumberland Rocks Back”.) If you are quick, you can get “pre-sale tickets” – presumably for a better seat selection.

Budget

The 2023 operating budget for the Community Centre has a total expense line (net) of $1.4M. That is, it costs the taxpayer $1.4M. Note that there is a revenue amount listed for special events of $25K – this is no doubt the expected revenue for the Chris Janson event although there will be other benefits e.g. ticket sales fees, economic benefit to the town from visitors etc.

Resources

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Bill
11 months ago

The CCC is too small a venue to attract big name acts. Blue Rodeo has been around for years and were well past their prime when they made their appearance here. I’ve never heard of Chris Janson. It would be nice, though, if the town released some financial accounting for these events. The reality is that taxpayers will continue to subsidize the operation of the venue, $1.4 million this year and counting. It’s too bad that when the CCC was built it didn’t include a pool and exercise facilities/equipment in conjunction with the YMCA under one roof. Perhaps elimination of one of the hockey arenas may not have been a bad thought.

Rob
Reply to  Bill
11 months ago

Blue Rodeo was as good as they ever have been, sold out venues across the country during their latest tour including Massey Hall last month, where they had local boy, Jimmy Bowskill open for them. Lets not forget, The Tragically Hip played here and it was amazing. Our town is small and rural and it is unlikely that we will see big name acts so embrace the fact that from time-to-time, up and coming talent and those running out of runway, entertain us…

Lemon Cake
11 months ago

Here’s a question for Cobourg Blog readers – where do you go to get local news and information about events? Besides this site of course. And how reliable or helpful do you find these other sources (Cobourg Blog aside, assuming we are all an engaged bunch of readers already).

Kathleen
Reply to  Lemon Cake
11 months ago

The ‘Events’ page on Facebook. (Go to your Homepage. Click on the 3 horizontal bars on the right. See Events). You’ll see Events happening in Cobourg and surrounding area.

marya
Reply to  Lemon Cake
11 months ago

Two local radio stations and posted signs on business windows are my sources for reliable local news and events; infrequently there is CHEX television channel.

Gerry
Reply to  Lemon Cake
11 months ago

I read Today’s Northumberland News online, What’s Happening in Cobourg Calendar, emailed to me. Our condo will also post events happening here in Cobourg and in the area. And, of course, John’s info.

Last edited 11 months ago by Gerry
Nat
11 months ago

Let’s get some heavy metal bands 🤘Metal fans will always travel from far and wide for a concert and for as rowdy as the music is, the fans are always peaceful, good people who never cause any trouble.

Informed
Reply to  Nat
11 months ago

Good idea Nat. Cobourg could be woken up

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
11 months ago

Woken up from what? This is Northslumberbland where old people come to graze. https://youtu.be/J7FS1EnXO_I

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Nat
11 months ago

What metric do you have that indicates that metal fans will travel far and wide for a concert? In Peterborough perhaps. They have a bigger population, also Trent U. would provide a good supply. But Cobourg, bloated with pensioners?

Nat
Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 months ago

I’ve been attending metal shows all over North America for over 20 years. We don’t have a big metal scene here in Canada and so any time there’s a concert going on, fans will travel from all over for the chance to gather with other metalheads and hear their favorite bands. At every show I go to I meet people who’ve come from all corners of the province. I also often meet people who have come up from the States and even diehard fans who come all the way from Europe and South America.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Nat
11 months ago

I hope it is profitably attended.

Sandpiper
11 months ago

Ken : Mentioned a Key Problem / Point —- ROI — Profits
or is this another Idea & Tax Payer Sponsored event .
I have known a few people that tried to privately bring Bigger named entertainment to this Town
and they never paid off / Profited from it . Staff at the CCC are not Volunteers ,
Yes the Hotel situation is a problem the small motels are filled with our less fortunate and there are not enough rooms at the Best Western Does the CCC even have Parking for that many .
So Why has the Town continued to Block { 5 yrs } the new Holiday Inn that should have been built by Now ???

ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago

So Why has the Town continued to Block { 5 yrs } the new Holiday Inn that should have been built by Now ???”

You tell us Sandpiper! Perhaps because they – the developer -thought they knew how to do it but didn’t really know how to do it.

Sandpiper
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

No the Town Finally revealed after several yrs of Planning Site plan work and Hotel designs and after the Developer Turning over the Roads to the Town etc etc to tell
both the Hotel , Developer , and a few other interested buyers that there was No Sanitary Sewage Capacity , and that the 15 years of the Towns storm water planning to the West has resulted in Nothing ever being completed .
Why do you think VanDyke Devel. , Veltrie Homes etc and many others have given up leaving Millions in land cost behind or just sitting there .

Sandpiper
Reply to  ben
11 months ago

Also The word your using Developer — Should be further Identified as Private Planning & Engineering Co.s that represent Developers for very large fees .
When they give you and advise you to Give up — Then you better listen to the Advice you are Paying for .

Jennifer Darrell
11 months ago

Hoping I can take advantage of your overall listing and the attention of your many fans John to mention an upcoming Victoria Hall Volunteers very special event to celebrate the history of Victoria Hall (postponed several times due to COVID but it is going to “happen” this year – May 13 – see https://experiencecobourg.ca/portfolio/a-hall-so-grand-celebrating-160-years-of-victoria-hall/
Thanks for the opportunity!

John Draper
Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
11 months ago

That event has been on the Cobourg Calendar site for a month. So far it has had 41 hits. https://cobourgcalendar.com/featured-events

Give me a break
11 months ago

Sounds great but we don’t have enough available hotel/ motel rooms for out of town folks to stay at if the concerts are in the evening or cabs to take them to and from the event ….

Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

Unfortunately Cobourg and surrounding area does not have the demographics to make money on events at the CCC. How many Chris Janson fans are there? Another example: how many hockey players and fans are there? Clearly not enough to put a dent in the cost of running the CCC at $1.4 million. Once again we have a Cadillac building in a Toyota town of 20000. (Didn’t one the previous mayors say something like this about the library) The new GPL, the future CPS building and it’s only a matter of time until town hall is too small, same as the County building was too small a brief time after being built. Too bad the politicians can’t spend within their means.
On a happier note it’s grand that there are many events for people to attend.

Informed
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

I’ve travelled to Toronto. Peterborough, Belleville. orillia. darian Lake etc to concerts over the years. Instead of spending money to promote our already crowed beaches… let’s be known for the Town that holds great concerts. This is exactly what I meant earlier about exploiting what we already have to offset costs

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
11 months ago

If we could sell all 2500 seats at the CCC for $100 each, that represents gross sales of $250,000. What would be the expected profit after paying the performers, advertising, additional staff and all of the other expenses? What has been the profit from previous concerts? Is Cobourg guaranteed a profit or is it possible that a poorly attended concert could lose money?

Last edited 11 months ago by Ken Strauss
Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

My glass is half full.🙂

John L. Hill
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

I note the Cobourg venue is not listed on the Chis Janson website.

Florence Fletcher
Reply to  John L. Hill
11 months ago

That’s obviously a problem

Kathyrn Krakenberg
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Great question. I still don’t see why they have a practice rink, why does it not have seating. Curious how much was made from the blue rodeo concert after expenses.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kathyrn Krakenberg
11 months ago

I suspect that town staff will deem the Blue Rodeo profit (or loss?) confidential and we’ll never know the actual numbers. Even for items like the Cougar’s CCC rentals they show the expected revenue ($42,500) in the budget but they never show the offsetting expenses.

Items like the CCC Canteen are worse. The budget shows expected revenue ($110,000 in 2023) but no mention of costs of food, supplies, staff, maintenance or the original construction costs!

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Ken – Don’t recall per event figures provided in the budget, just overall revenue. The CCC showed a respectable figure for revenue but don’t recall the exact amount to offset costs. I am surprised at some of the negative comments on the CCC. Every town I’ve seen, even much smaller ones than Cobourg have municipally funded community centres which are meant for all members of the public. Do you know if there is a breakdown for each summer festival event?

Besides when people visit they often buy dinner, gas, some would dine downtown and perhaps others may want a souvenir which adds to the overall economy here. Surely the hotels aren’t all full of transients and must also benefit.

I’ld be interested in seeing the revenue figures for the above Ken if you have them. You appear to have a very good grasp of budget figures, almost as good as Bryan.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Dave,

The budget doesn’t specifically report on events so there is no way to determine the profitability of any given event or even a facility such as the CCC canteen.

This event may be unique because it is the first time (I believe) that the Town has participated as a “promoter” The Town’s participation in previous events was to simply rent the facilities to a promoter.

It will be interesting to see if the Town provides an “after event” report detailing how well, or not, the event went and how much the Town made or lost.

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Yes it is always good to get an accounting. However it would be difficult to accurately display the economic spin offs to other areas of business here in Cobourg Bryan. As this was discussed at Town level it would be also interesting to know who were the people behind the venture. If a big success they can stand up and take a bow. People complain about the downtown here, hopefully they will also receive a shot in the arm by bringing in an influx of people. If we can’t provide a timed bus service for blue collar workers for increased industrial growth maybe we can achieve it with events not requiring a bus service.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

Meals, souvenirs and hotel rooms may benefit a few businesses but why should something that benefits McDonalds and the Best Western be funded from our property taxes?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Re the Canada Day celebrations funded by the municipality; why should Best Western benefit and profit by increased out-of-towners for the weekend? Because it is an opportunity for a business to exploit a situation (funded by taxes or otherwise) to its private benefit. Does Best Western and MacDonalds and other businesses pay property taxes also, not just residents? And so what if Best Western and others make a wad of cash as a spin off from any taxpayer-funded event. What business is it of ours anyway?

Sandpiper
Reply to  Dave
11 months ago

May be you could find the Parking First
Or did you intend to bus the Patrons to the Event like the Water Front festival . Whos pocket is that coming out of and was it ever accounted for .

Dave
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 months ago

What was the transportation for Blue Rodeo? Where did people park for Blue Rodeo? Where do people park when a large hockey sports event is being held at the CCC? I am sure they will not be relying on our current sometime bus service.

cornbread
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

I bet $10 that the promoter will know how much he made or lost.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

The Blue Rodeo concert was more than 6 months and another budget ago yet I’ve seen nothing regarding profits. Do you seriously think that we will get a report? Absent bragging about profits my guess is that the event lost money or, perhaps worse, staff have no idea about profits.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Ken S & Cornbread,

My understanding is that the Town simply rented the CCC to the promoter of the BR concert and did not participate as an “event promoter”. I am not aware of the Town having provided a report on the the event rental revenue and related expenses.

The BR concert revenues and expenses are the concern of the promoter, not the Town, unless the CCC rental fee was a percentage share of the gate or similar.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
11 months ago

Bryan, regardless of the exact financial arrangements the owners of the CCC (the town`s taxpayers) should be apprised of the results. If the event was profitable we should plan many more. If not, we either need to figure out how to make it profitable or not bother.

Bryan
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Ken S,
If the events were profitable that is the promoters’ business and it will encourage them to try again. If the event failed, that is also the promoter’s business and there may not be another try.

As for the Town, the net rental for the event should be published. If it is “profitable”, good. If not don’t do it again or do it differently. Raise the rent, reduce the costs or both

Last edited 11 months ago by Bryan
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

“… should be apprised of the results.

Why? I rent a room (municipal or private) in which I hold an event. I pay the rent in full, contract complete, then I go calculate my profit or loss. What business is that of anyone else other than the promoter’s? There is no benefit in snooping into the private business of others.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 months ago

If you rent a town owned room then the rental amount should be on a published schedule; the profitability of your event is your business.

If the town organizes an event then the profit/loss from the event should be a matter of public record.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

Absent bragging about profits my guess is that the event lost money.

Equally plausible; they profited but it was embarrassingly modest.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 months ago

If the profits were “embarrassingly modest” then everyone should know in order to dissuade staff from repeating the failure with similar events. Good or bad it is not acceptable to hide the results. Wally, it is called “transparency”.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 months ago

You are referring to a Town funded event. I am referring to a private sponsor renting the facilities for an event. If the Town got their rent, the contract is satisfied and the profit or loss is solely and exclusively the business of the promotor. A private promotor owes transparency to no one. The well-worn woke word of the season, ‘transparency’ doesn’t apply to a private business.

Mark
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

I bet Cobourg taxpayer would been against building of town hall and definitely wouldn’t want to spend any money to restore it
And would be happy having a well and outhouse on his property 😉

cornbread
Reply to  Mark
11 months ago

Sure would be a lot less expensive than our overpriced “Water” & “Sewer” charges we get every month.

Mark
Reply to  cornbread
11 months ago

You really think so ?
if a well needs to be replaced , it will be easily a $1000 to have some replace it.
Electrical to run it , and than filters and up lights to be replaced
Town water is cheaper in the long run for 95% of the time

Sandpiper
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

Reality Sucks but its TRUE

Cobourg has Bigger Problems on its hands than Entertainment Choices
You want to see Reality Walk down King street from the Police Stn to the Park Theater
and count the Empty stores and Salons and if thats not enough for you do the side streets
Then Hit the Mall for a real Reality Check .

Doug
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 months ago

GPL AND CPS are fine little short forms. Does anyone know what they mean?

John L. Hill
Reply to  Doug
11 months ago

Golden Plough Lodge and Cobourg Police Services