Concert gives city something to cheer about

I am writing this letter to give a “shout out” to the entire team at the SOEC for a job very well done with the recent Toby Keith concert.

As a member of the mayor’s advisory board on the South Okanagan Events Centre, I’m well aware of the challenges faced by the SOEC and the efforts being made to improve the operation.

So, at the invitation of general manager Dean Clarke, I spent a 14-hour day at the SOEC, greeting the convoy of people and equipment as they arrived from Prince George; observing the entire “load-in,” as the 56-unit video screen was built and hoisted into place; climbing onto the catwalk to closely observe the “upriggers” who straddled the steel beams and arranged for the heavy loads to be properly lifted; and having lunch with truckers who had driven all night through the snow and fog to arrive at the SOEC right on time (and who proclaimed our Ovations food service as “wonderful, the best we’ve had on our entire trip”). I then spent several hours listening in on the sound checks, the security briefings and the backstage production planning.

It was, to my very untrained eye, a symphony of well-orchestrated chaos. For example, at 11 a.m. Saturday, there were a dozen or more trucks lined up outside the SOEC, each loaded with speakers, amplifiers, instruments, tools, monitors, you name it. Then the production chief called the team together and after a quick briefing, 60 or so sets of hands unloaded those trucks, wheeled everything to its proper destination, and other hands quickly unpacked the contents and arranged them on, around or above the stage, according to some grand, unseen, but clearly prearranged plan.

And while it took every bit of eight hours to fully unpack and build and test and finalize the preparations, at exactly 7 p.m., the show went live… just as planned. And after a great performance, in front of an appreciative, almost-sold-out crowd, those same crew members showed back up and knocked down the stage, packed everything up, and around 11:30 p.m., sent the first truck into the teeth of a snowstorm, towards Abbotsford for another show, while the SOEC crew spent a few more hours getting the facility ready for another Vees hockey game.

Every citizen of the South Okanagan can be proud of the efforts put forth — and more importantly, the great results produced by — Dean Clarke, Sally Pierce, Kevin Webb, Mary Richards and many others behind the scenes. Lots of local residents are taking home a paycheque as a result of this event. And more than 50 per cent of our ticket buyers came from somewhere other than the South Okanagan; and spent their money, not just on tickets, but on beer, wine, soda, hot dogs and T-shirts, as well as hotel rooms, restaurants, and who knows what else.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars directly invested in and around the Toby Keith event created an even bigger multiplier impact in the local economy. That’s a win-win for everyone. And that’s why I look forward to welcoming the next top-drawer entertainer to town.

Mark T. Ziebarth





Just Posted

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read