Saturday, June 8, 2013


This story illustrates how things can go astray. It is not clear if the paperwork was handled by a professional or not. It is also unclear if any of the people intending to cross has any inadmissibility grounds.  This is also a reminder that good planning is essential,

Music promoter blames border officials for causing NKOTB concert delay

Music promoter blames border officials for causing NKOTB concert delay



New Kids on the Block perform at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, June 05, 2013.

Photograph by: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen/Postmedia News

OTTAWA — The chairman of one of Canada’s largest music promoters has slammed Canada Customs and Immigration officials at the Thousand Islands Bridge crossing for causing Tuesday’s postponement of the New Kids on the Block concert at Scotiabank Place.
The concert by the boy band, along with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men, was postponed until Wednesday after the tour’s eight buses and 10 trucks were held up at the Lansdowne border crossing from about 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The concert promoter said that made it impossible for the crew to set up in time for the Tuesday evening show.
Abut 6,200 fans attended the show Wednesday, but the promoter says he lost “thousands of dollars.”
The immigration paperwork for the band and crew members was at the border crossing two days before the concert, said Riley O’Connor, chair of Live Nation Canada. The company received a fax confirming that everything was in order, he said.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years and it’s the same process all the time,” an exasperated O’Connor said Friday in an interview.
“All I know is we followed our procedures: 48 hours before anyone crosses the border they have the full documentation and it’s faxed to them old-style because that is what they want. But I have no clue what happened, because we are not party to what goes on in the process by the customs and immigration people.”
Chris Kealey, a spokesman for the Canadian Border Services Agency, said he disagreed with the concert promoter’s assessment of what led to the postponement of the show.
“The information the promoter has is not consistent with the CBSA’s version of events,” said Kealey in an emailed statement to the Citizen.
Kealey said that usually on big tours the promoters are required to send in the documentation five to seven days in advance of the band crossing the border.
But O’Connor called the treatment of his company and the tour staff “shabby,” especially since border officials did not explain the reason for the delay.
“I do business in Canada and provide a lot of jobs and provide a lot of revenue to the taxation department. And if they want to treat businesses and citizens like we’re a bunch of geese, fine, then that is the country we live in. But it is pretty shabby treatment.”
When the convoy of tour trucks and buses arrived at the Thousand Islands Bridge at 7 a.m. Tuesday, traffic was not heavy, he said. But they met with a delay that lasted until 1 p.m.
Performances by prominent music groups are often complex and the set-up and tear down of stages is timed to the second. O’Connor said he knew by 1 p.m. Tuesday that there was not enough time left for the concert to be staged safely that night, and a decision was made to postpone the show to Wednesday.
Fortunately, there was an open day in the group’s tour schedule. The tour went to Montreal Thursday and was to perform in Toronto Friday night.
The postponement of the Scotiabank show disappointed fans and cost Live Nation Canada tens of thousands of dollars in extra fees to catering companies, police and hotels, said O’Connor.
“We lost ticket sales and it costs more money to have people set up over two days.” He declined to estimate the financial hit.
“Let’s put it this way, nobody made money that night.”
Some fans, like Amanda Morrow and Jennifer Francis from Toronto, were unable to make the replacement show. They told the Citizen that they had booked tickets, took time off from their jobs and planned the road trip. They were an hour outside Ottawa when they learned the show was postponed until Wednesday night. They weren’t be able to make it. “We’re bummed,” said Morrow on Tuesday to a Citizen reporter.
There have been other delays of music tours crossing into Canada. When the Rolling Stones played Ottawa in 2005, a border holdup put a serious crimp into preparations for the large-scale concert that was staged at Lansdowne Park. The trucks and buses for that tour were delayed for three hours at the Champlain Crossing, but luckily they arrived two days before the concert just as crews began to build the massive stage on the football field.

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