I am happy that U2 is about to rock the hill here in Moncton – although after toying with the idea for weeks, I decided against going.
From an economic development perspective, however; I want to reiterate my objection to former Premier Graham’s comment that “Saint John was the energy hub, Fredericton was the IT hub and Moncton was the entertainment hub”. If that was the priority of government, Moncton would have drawn the short end of the stick.
Entertainment is an important sector of the economy. It supports quality of life objectives. It supports the tourism sector. It gives some visibility to a community (particularly things like large concerts). But in terms of branding a community or making entertainment a primary focus, I think that is more problematic.
Wage levels in entertainment, food service, accommodation and other related sectors are at the low end of the scale. In contrast, energy and IT wage levels are well above average. That alone should give pause to those who like the idea of entertainment.
So let’s have fun. A tip of the hat to city hall for attracting these concerts. But the branding should be about something more ambitious.