How busy is it at Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario? Very, very busy.
“We’re not catching a break here,” joked GM Lynn Carlotto. “We’re really busy with so much going on.”
2016 has been a big year for the eight-year-old arena located at 1 The Tragically Hip Way. The building’s Kingston Frontenacs just finished first in the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference and enter the playoffs ready to take on the Oshawa Generals.
“The city has Fronts fever,” she joked. “And many of the players on going on to great careers in the NHL.”
The Rogers K-Rock Centre has also been hosting hit concerts for Canadian bands including Hedley, Marianas Trench and Metric.
“There’s a really strong Canadian music scene already,” she said. “Canadian is not a genre — there are acts across the board in alternative, classic rock and pop that have real strong followings. It’s an active, fun music scene with a ton of talent.”
The surge in Canadian touring couldn’t come at a better time, as the drop in the value of the Canadian Dollar has restricted many Canadian promoters’ ability to buy talent. Ultimately it’s about striking the right balance, she said, not oversaturating the market or pushing the exchange burden onto the fans.
“We try to really focus what we can bring to generate additional business right here in our backyard,” she said. “We’re also working with new promoters and trying to expand the network in this country so that we can maximize whatever is routing through here.”
American bands still sell well in Kingston — the Rogers K-Rock Centre is hosting Santana on April 21, followed by concerts for Jason Aldean and James Taylor.
“People said ‘James Taylor?! In Kingston?!'” she said. “That’s the best part of the job. I get to be Music Santa Claus.”
Earlier this year, the SMG-managed building completed an overhaul of its club lounge, giving it a “much hipper feel.” Carlotto is also preparing for a large carpeting switch for large sections of the building to give the facility a fresh new look and smell.
“This is the redecorating time. We have an active program to stay ahead of the building. When you walk in the door, it smells new and it still looks new,” she said. “I’m a big believer in the sniff test. When you come in it’s gonna look clean, and it’s gotta smell clean. That’s our focus.”