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Editorial: Live music sounded great at Affinity Place

An opinion piece on the latest concert at Affinity Place.
Sass Jordan sang many of her biggest hits while in Estevan.

For just the second time in nearly four years, local music lovers were treated to a concert at Affinity Place.

Trooper, Sass Jordan and the Northern Pikes provided a night of great Canadian rock. It might not have been the greatest collection of big-name acts since Affinity Place opened in the spring of 2011, but it was still great to have live music back in the city's largest concert venue.

Trooper seemed to be the act that most people wanted to see, and they certainly delivered a fun concert. Sass Jordan certainly still has a powerful set of lungs, and she continues to have a number of songs that resonate with fans. As for the Northern Pikes, they remain fun to listen to, and it was great to have a Saskatchewan group in the mix.

Each act had enough songs that we knew that we could sing along with, and we maybe heard something we weren't familiar with. 

And the bonus is that it was an affordable concert. For $50 plus tax, you received nearly four hours of entertainment.

It was a good way for the city to get back into bringing live music to Affinity Place. Of course, last year we had the Dallas Smith concert which was Estevan's prize for winning the SiriusXM Music Towns contest, but that was different. It was a free concert that didn't carry a large up-front expense for the city.

There were costs, but not the same as bringing the event to the community. The Smith concert gave the city the chance to dust off its concert protocols and work on everything from laying down the temporary floor and setting up the stage to having extra alcohol stations and bringing in extra staff and volunteers.

It's a different story when you're paying to bring in the entertainers and putting taxpayer dollars on the line.

The debate of whether the city should be bringing in concerts to Affinity Place has been going on almost since the events centre opened. At first, there was a novelty associated with seeing all of these really cool acts in our community. But as time went on that interest faded.

We had some great concerts in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting everything down that drew well, but maybe not as well as they would have in 2012 or 2013.

We believe that when the city brings in an act, the expectation should be to break even. After all, the city has to be effective stewards of our money. It would be nice to have Affinity Place rented for the concert, but those situations are rare. So, it's up to the city to take the calculated risk.

But if you were to ask the people who attended Thursday's concert, most of them would say they had a great time and they aren't concerned with the financial aspects.

When we have a concert, it creates that buzz factor in town, with people looking forward to something we don't get on a regular basis. People are in the bars and restaurants before and after the show. Some people come into town and spend the night in our hotels.

The acts get to come here and experience our community. Many of them have left raving about Estevan following the concerts. They love performing in Affinity Place and how intimate it is compared to some larger venues.

We've had many concerts in which Estevan has been the smallest community on a tour.

The financials for the concert will be out at a later date. Then we'll see how the concert did. The city will discuss what it could do next time to improve the experience for the crowd. 

Ultimately it was a fun night out in November at a community event, which is something that doesn't happen a lot. Hopefully, the city can get back to having two or three concerts a year at Affinity Place, and they will be supported by the community. 

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