“Grand Prairie has been a phenomenal place for us to raise our family and to have fabulous careers,” said the retiring venue manager. Her last day is March 31 and Cada-Sharp said she planned to move to Calgary with her husband to be closer to their three children.
“Ever since I graduated from university at 22 years old, I got up and went to work,” she said. “Now I get to take a run at it in a different way and everything is really wide open. That’s very cool. Very, very cool.”
She moved to Grand Prairie in 1980, fresh off of getting her journalism degree from Carleton University. She landed a job at a radio station and worked in news.
“Then I did a talk show for five years, which was a blast,” she said. “I have had a lot of people say, ‘well, you really haven’t changed your approach. You say what you want, when you want, whenever you feel like it.'”
Eventually she left media for the venue world and went to the work at the Crystal Centre (the venue’s name at the time) for GM Kim Bedier, who now runs the Tacoma Dome in Washington.
“They took four of us and threw us at this facility back in ’92 and just said, ‘Make it work,’ and we did,” she said. The city of Grande Prairie won the right to host the Canada Games in 1995 and the full facility opened in October of ’94.
Since opening, Revolution Place has undergone a major transformation over the past few years. From a recent name-change to getting a lot of national recognition with popular, televised programming, these changes have resulted in a stellar 2015.
For the 2014-2015 year, they increased their number of event days by 10 percent and held some high-profile concerts, including Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” world tour and Shania Twain last October. Early in the year, Revolution Place also hosted three nationally televised events within the past three months: Rogers Hometown Hockey Event in January and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts just this past February.
“Our naming rights guy is going, ‘Wow. National television three months in a row,'” says Revolution Place GM Jane Cada-Sharp. “When you’re getting that kind of national recognition and on television every night in Grande Prairie, Alberta at Revolution Place, it’s amazing.”
Formerly known as Crystal Centre, Revolution Place was renamed in 2014 after a $520,000 naming rights deal with Revolution Auto Parts. The Grand Prairie Community didn’t blink an eye when the change happened according to Cada-Sharp.
“Oftentimes, it will take a long time for people to make the transition from the old name to the new,” she told Amplify. “I’ll tell you, this one has happened at warp speed.”
Now coming into the first few months of 2016, Revolution Place is not only losing Cada-Sharp as she is set to retire at the end of March, but the venue also has to deal with the dropping Canadian dollar.
“I think we’re like any other venue in Canada at this point in time,” she said. “The first thing I do every morning when I walk in my office is go check the exchange rate. That’s our biggest challenge at this point in time.”
Like others in the Canadian music industry, she says that it all comes down to the math, as well as creativity in bringing acts to the country.
“It’s straight math. Maybe we can still make this work because then you look at the benefit to the community, to your restaurants, your hotels, your retail,” she said. “There’s some really, really difficult decisions that have been made and will continue to be made until our economy starts heading in the right direction.”
Even with her retirement on the horizon, these concerns and issues for the music industry are some that Cada-Sharp plans to stay connected with through her involvement with IAVM and citizen’s events.
“I want that connection with my colleagues and friends that I have met over the years, because that’s important to me and I love this business,” she said. “That’s a fantastic way to stay involved and to stay connected.”
Frankie Victoria Co-Wrote This Article