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Promoter to pitch Elliot Lake Council on idea to rent city airport for summer music festival

Council to discuss merits of the proposed heavy metal weekend concert at its Jan. 14 meeting
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Elliot Lake based concert promoter, Corey MacKenzie of AstroRabbit Entertainment, will pitch Elliot Lake city council Monday night for approval of his plan to produce a heavy metal music festival at Elliot Lake Airport, 19 kilometres south of the the city centre, off Highway 108.

In his written presentation to council, MacKenzie promises a risk free event for the city with a pledge to spend more than $50,000 at his expense on barriers, security, police and fire protection, site monitoring, ticket sales and insurance for $5 million liability.

He also promises to turn over 90 per cent of the profits from the planned event from Aug. 9 to 11 to the city to defray the costs of local programs and charities, such as the CT scanner project at St. Joseph’s General Hospital.

MacKenzie said a metal concert in Toronto a few years back attracted 25,000 people, although that would not be manageable here. MacKenzie reckons the plan could mean up to a $500,000 windfall for local interests. The bands he hopes to bring here remain a closely kept secret.

The plan was directed to Monday’s council agenda after it first appeared at a meeting in December. At that time council wanted more information.

When the idea was first floated on Dec. 19 at a special council meeting, Mayor Dan Marchisella said this could be a good event for the city with no risks for Elliot Lake. He noted that with the airport closed on weekends, the planned event would create minimal disruption since Mr. MacKenzie wants the airport for three days - Friday through Sunday.

Coun. Chris Patrie said the three-day commitment would really mean up to six down days at Elliot Lake Airport, allowing for set up and tear down days. He thought the metal bands event could be held elsewhere in Elliot Lake.

Patrie also believed there are not enough hotel rooms in the area to accommodate the music fans. While onsite camping is planned, he noted "The acts are going to require hotels."

Mayor Marchisella said the proponent would need to access the airport the evening before the concert for bringing in the staging equipment and for up to eight hours the next day for the actual setup.

Coun. Norman Mann said the project has merit, but his concerns include, "that any lost revenue at the airport is mitigated against this event." He also wanted to make sure Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests fire fighting airplanes would be moved on to another appropriate venue.

Coun. Luc Cyr commended Mr. MacKenzie for finding a way to bring more tourists to Elliot Lake. He said, "It does lack the nuts and bolts,but we can work with that."

About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
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