Campus concert revived

Students attend last year’s Frosh Week concert at Fort Henry. This year, the concert will be held on campus in the parking lot behind Miller Hall.
Students attend last year’s Frosh Week concert at Fort Henry. This year, the concert will be held on campus in the parking lot behind Miller Hall.

This year’s Frosh Week concert is returning to Queen’s campus following unanimous approval from Kingston city council. In a May 3 vote, city council granted the AMS a one-night exemption to a noise control bylaw which prevented on-campus concerts between 2008 and 2010.

Orientation Roundtable (ORT) Coordinator Rachel Shindman said the concert will be held in the Miller Hall parking lot—its original venue prior to 2008.

“The main reasons why the ORT pursued [bringing] the concert back to campus were cost, safety and security,” Shindman, ConEd ’12, said.

This year, the concert is budgeted for $80,000.

Last year’s concert cost ORT around $100,000, with half the money spent on renting Fort Henry for the night.

Shindman said that a financial analysis and safety review of the past three concerts found that there were other negative factors associated with holding the concert off-campus.

When the concert was held at Fort Henry in 2008, one student suffered a serious injury due to the venue’s poor lighting and ditch system. “Bringing it back to campus automatically lowers the risk of the event because the Miller Hall parking lot is almost entirely enclosed by buildings and is relatively easy to secure,” Shindman said.

She has been working since November to bring the concert back to campus.

“It was Pat [Denroche, ORT Concert Director,] and I who went about the process,” she said, adding that they spoke with Kingston General Hospital representatives, the AMS, Mayor Mark Gerretsen and 11 city councillors to address concerns about attendance and noise.

“This year we focused a lot on City Council because we knew that that was going to be the biggest hurdle. You can’t hold the event without that [bylaw exemption],” Shindman said.

“We received a lot of positive feedback and support … once we went through the cost, safety and security points, they saw where we were coming from.” The noise-exemption is only applicable to this year, so the AMS will have to reapply next year if they wish to hold the concert on campus again.

Sydenham District City Councillor Bill Glover voted against the exemption in 2008 but this year changed his stance on the matter. He said that Town-Gown relations are very dependent on personal relationships.

“[In 2008] we were working in the context of continuing problems with Homecoming that we had not yet really started to get a handle [of],” Glover said, adding that an improvement in open communication between the City and the University changed his vote this time around.

“The AMS folks this year have been trying to develop a good working relationship,” he said.

Both Shindman and Municipal Affairs Commissioner David Sinkinson approached Glover to talk about Frosh Week and town-gown relations. Next year it’s possible that another exemption will be granted to the AMS, but it depends on whether or not this year’s concert is a success.

“Orientation has certainly changed from year-to-year … I’m sure it’ll continue to evolve … but we’ve come a long way since 2007 and 2008, no argument about that,” Glover said.

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