By Schnarr, J.W. on September 3, 2017.
Concert was a year in the making
The Shine On Summer Festival is closing out the summer and welcoming back students for another year at the University of Lethbridge.
The two-day festival is taking place at the U of L Stadium and includes a number of musical acts, including Dallas Smith, Corb Lund, Mother Mother, Virginia to Vegas, The Washboard Union, Trevor Panczak, and Double Jack. It is one of the many activities planned for Homecoming Weekend at the U of L.
But while the festival promises to be two days of fun now, organizers say putting on what could be the biggest outdoor music festival Lethbridge has ever seen takes a mountain of work behind the scenes.
Wes Chapman, sales executive for Enmax Centre, said the music festival is a result of more than a year of planning.
“We were brought into this about a year ago to help them with our expertise to throw a party bigger than Lethbridge had seen before,” he said.
Chapman said ultimately he expects to see more than 4,500 people at the event.
“Something bigger than any music festival outdoors ever done in the city before.”
Chapman said the goal was to emulate what can be accomplished at Enmax Centre.
The event was “all hands on deck” for all involved.
“Between our staff, the U of L staff, and some city groups who came to help, it took alot to make this happen,” Chapman said.
He said they took a venue that has never been used for anything other than sports before, and tried to figure out how to make a concert work.
This included setting up the stage, protecting the turf, and dealing with seating, tents, ticket centres, and concession.
“Each of our individual departments have their expertise, and we just trusted them to do what they do best”
Deb Marek, Director of Sport and Recreation Services for the U of L, said the event has been a good opportunity to show off what the stadium is capable of.
“It is designed to be more than a sports facility,” she said. “We just haven’t had the opportunity in the past.”
And while it took a lot of people a lot of work to set the stadium of up for the festival, Marek said the group is on a tight turnaround to get it back to sporting shape.
“We have to turn this around in a few days and then we’re going to host some soccer and football games,” she said.
One thing the stadium has in abundance is space.
“The space is going to be the biggest thing,” Chapman said. “Having an entire general admission arena is interesting. People will be able to go wherever they like and do whatever they like.
“Really, it’s beyond the music. “
“This is great,” said Marek. “It shows off our university. It’s a great open space. We are fairly close to the community here, so we hope they enjoy the music as well.”
The festival could also be serving as a test run for what the stadium can accomplish.
“We’ll see how this goes,” Marek said. “We have had inquiries from other groups to come and host events here, and it may be leading to something like that in the future.”
The Shine On Summer Festival continues today.
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