Queen’s annual Frosh Week concert has found a new home at Fort Henry National Historic Site since Kingston city council attempted to silence the event.
The concert, held annually in the parking lot of Miller Hall, has regularly been a source of debate between Kingston residents and Frosh Week coordinators.
After a motion brought forward by the AMS requesting an exemption from noise bylaws for the concert was voted down at the June 15 city council meeting, Fort Henry approached the AMS Orientation Roundtable (ORT) and offered the use of their site.
Fort Henry Special Events Coordinator Will Baird said Fort Henry and K-Rock radio station originally planned to host a concert unrelated to Frosh Week on August 2nd but had problems booking bands during the busy summer concert season. When they heard of ORT’s troubles, they offered to join forces and move the date to Sept. 5. “We were looking at hosting a concert and thought we would get involved with the student population,” Baird said. “We found out they were having problems with the location and said we can kill two birds with one stone.”
Baird said Fort Henry’s large capacity will allow for tickets to be available for the general public.
“For the back hill where we’ll be holding the concert the capacity will be 15,000, but we probably won’t fill up the entire space.” ORT Coordinator Jeff Waite said ORT planned to have the motion reconsidered and voted upon at the July 15 city council meeting but pulled out when Fort Henry stepped in.
“We definitely did continue communicating with councillors and we don’t want to forget about them,” he said. “We don’t know that Fort Henry will be available in the future.”
Waite said holding the concert at an off-campus venue creates several issues that normally wouldn’t happen if the event was held in Miller parking lot, such as safety and transportation.
Initial safety protocol plans include Walkhome staff and vans at Fort Henry to provide students with transportation back to campus, as well as four school buses, donated by McCoy Bus Services and staffed by student volunteers, which will run between Fort Henry and campus for two hours before and after the concert. Student Constables will be at the doors frisking Queen’s students. Waite said these safety measures might cost more than originally budgeted for, but student safety is ORT’s first priority.
“I’m willing to spend money to make sure students are safe,” he said. “There are ways of doing it that will definitely not impact the financial accessibility of the event.”
Waite said no acts have been booked for the concert, but said bands should be booked within the next two or three weeks. Bands playing at the Frosh Week concert have been kept secret in past years, a tradition Waite says probably won’t continue this year.
“It will probably be less of a secret because the fort will want to advertise,” he said. “At this point we’re in the process of putting out offers to bands. It’s something that should happen very soon.”
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