Follows is the opinion of Andrew Roberts the owner of GOTPOP? Concerts who has been in the promotion business for more than ten years right here in Nanaimo.
Alright so I don't think this event centre thing is a good idea.
Why? Lemme tell ya...
The bands and big shows that would come here, where do they come from? Bands have planned tours, they do not just come and play one show somewhere. City council, the mayor or the arena janitor doesn't just pick up the batphone and call Shania Twain themselves. There are people and major companies called event promoters. The major promoters 'Live Nation' have control of which act goes where and when, so they plan a tour for lets say: Billy Talent. Billy Talent would tour across Canada, and play the major cities, probably do Vancouver, and then there would be a choice between Victoria and Nanaimo's Arena. They can't play both places, there is something called a radius clause (look it up). 'Live Nation' would want to draw everyone from the island in for one show. They would almost always pick Victoria over Nanaimo.
Vancouver's arena and Abbotsford's arena never get the same show. A tour would only stop in one of those places. The Save On Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria only gets about 15-25 concerts/events a year other than hockey. You think they'd want to lose half their shows to Nanaimo? Not bloody likely! And there won't be another 20 shows that magically appear for Nanaimo to have.
I had a talk last week with Ralph James from the United Talent Agency, one of the biggest agencies in the world. He represents Nickelback, Billy Talent, Marianas Trench among others. He thinks its a bad idea. He said he has a hard time bringing bands to the island already because of the extra travel time. Most tours will stop in Vancouver, and then go to Seattle or Alberta. I don't see Nanaimo getting much in the way of events to make it worthwhile.
If you really feel like you want an arena around, feel free to move to Victoria or Vancouver. Whatever your opinion is, please get out there and vote on March 11th. I can't wait for this whole stupid thing to be over.