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Black making a pitch for third Stars and Thunder

It wouldn't be financed or hosted by the city
2018-06-24 Stars And Thunder2 MH
Beverley Mahood and then Timmins Mayor Steve Black at the 2018 Stars and Thunder in Hollinger Park. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

A proposal for a third Stars and Thunder Festival will see former Timmins mayor Steve Black back at the council table this week.

Black is slated to give a delegation to the new council at the Tuesday, Jan. 8 meeting.

According to the presentation in the council package, the city would not finance the festival. Instead it would be taken on by Ron Sakamoto's Gold and Gold Productions. Sakamoto worked with the city on the first two events.

It would also be reduced to four days instead of eight.

To allow the festival to continue, the presentation also includes a number of requests for the city.

They are:

• to have the city be a festival sponsor for $300,000

• to supply and set up tents, tables and chairs

• to supply garbage and recycling bins

• to confirm if the field will be ready for set up from June 28 to July 1. If not, the group is asking if it would be ready for Aug. 2 - 5.

• to hold off on the home run fence until after the festival, if possible

• to have a resolution supporting the requests passed at the Jan. 22 council meeting. This would allow the group time to confirm artists and festival preparation.

According to the report, the sponsorship cash would help transition the event to a "successful privately operated event".

"It is the festival's business plan to reduce this ask each year over the coming term until there is no financial contribution from the city in 2022. If the festival is able to become self sustaining earlier it will remove the financial ask from the city at that time," reads the presentation.

As for where the $300,000 could come from, Black's presentation suggests if the city implements a municipal accommodation tax, it could allow the city "to provide the funding without impacting any other historical commitment in the budget or local residents."

The previous council talked about the tax at one of its last meetings and gave staff the green light to put together a municipal accommodation tax program.

The tax being suggested is four-per-cent on hotels, motels, cottages and other short-term accommodations, including Air BnBs, within the city. It wouldn’t apply to campsites and campgrounds, or university and college residences.

With a four-per-cent tax, it is estimated the program could generate about $1 million per year. Information on how the program would work was not been brought back to the new council yet.

Black's presentation notes that "organizers are working with a major sponsor and are hopeful to secure remaining funding needed" if council supports the request. 

"As tackling homelessness is a priority issue for Mayor and Council the festival will commit share of 50/50 to go to organizations addressing this community issue," reads the report. 

The first Stars and Thunder music festival was held in 2017 and coincided with Canada's 150th celebrations. The eight-day event capped off with a Keith Urban concert. That year, the festival had a $600,000 deficit.

In its second year, it was also an eight-day festival with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams headlining the final show. There was a $1.6-million shortfall.

This week's meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers. 

The full presentation is available here

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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