The 2016 Riverfront Jubilee has come and gone but it, and Sunday night headliner Burton Cummings, are sure to be something long remembered.
Executive Director Carlton Munroe said total attendance and ticket sales were still being calculated Sunday night, but one thing was certain: the audience definitely grew as the weekend went on.
“Absolutely,” Munroe said. “Saturday was bigger than Friday night, Sunday was bigger than Saturday. That happens every year, for whatever reason- whether it’s still a work day Friday… it doesn’t seem to matter who we put on stage Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday seems to have a bigger crowd.”
Munroe said advance sales were up “seven to 10 percent” over last year – a trend he’s seen continue since the 2013 Jubilee, the Sunday night of which completely sold out.
“We’re slowly getting people used to buying in advance,” Munroe said. “Maybe it was the Great Big Sea sellout that did that. But our advance sales have gotten to the point where they’re higher than the gate sales as a whole.”
Munroe said there were no major changes to this year’s festival but that the whole process in general continues to be refined and the committee makes efforts to improve things over the year. He cited this year’s site set up process as an example of this fine tuning.
“Usually we’re right down to the wire getting things buttoned down for the site,” Munroe said. “We’ve got a wonderful team.”
With the exception of the Jimmy Swift Band and Matt Minglewood this year’s crop of artists were all new to the Jubilee and, while all the acts drew a crowd, even the opening acts brought dedicated fans and had audiences singing along.
But all roads this Jubilee led to the iconic Guess Who frontman and solo artist Burton Cummings. As Sunday grew on so did the crowd and by the time Cummings took the stage at around 11:15 both sides of the crowd had swelled to near capacity.
Cummings joked that while he didn’t have a new album to plug he had “plenty of songs you’ve heard on the radio” and backed up that claim with select Guess Who hits like No Time, Undun and American Woman, and solo hits like Break it to them Gently and Your Back Yard.
At 68, Cummings’ voice was in full command and he worked the crowd into a frenzy.