Fan Outraged But JazzFest Says No Dr. John Apology on CBC

JazzEast Executive Director Heather Gibson says she had the Dr. John crowd under control, Peter Barss says there was no crowd control

Dr. John, heard but not seen in Halifax (photo La Presse)

The controversy over the rowdy crowd, or not, at the Dr. John Festival heats up as a fan says his wife was pushed by a drunk and beer spilled on his camera gear.

“We’re STILL getting emails and calls about crowds, sound and seating @HFXJazzFest.  We’ll play more after sports. Stay tuned! ” CBC Information Morning posted today. 

Heather Gibson, the Executive Director and head honcho at the TD Halifax Jazz Festival, is unimpressed by complaints. She told CBC Information Morning, “There was dancing but not a lack of crowd control or safety issue at the Dr. John Show”  We have the CBC below recording.

 Heather Gibson, Executive Director Jazz East (Chronicle Herald Photo)

After hearing Gibson’s response on CBC Radio,  long time jazz blues fan and photographer Peter Barss gave this response on CBC radio.

“In reference to complaints about the Dr. John concert, Heather Gibson stated that her staff of 400 work diligently to ensure that the JazzEast Festival ran smoothly and safely. In the case of the Dr. John concert I disagree.”

“Like most people in the tent my wife Myra and I stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air during the intermission between Erin Costello’s performance and Dr. John’s.”

“When we returned to our front row seats the area between the seats and the stage was filled with a shoulder to shoulder crowd of mostly young people many with beer in hand and many already drunk.”

“Myra was pushed three times and nearly knocked over. One man staggered backwards and spilled his beer on my camera bag which contained several thousand dollars worth of gear. There were no apologies.”

“In fact, when I told this guy that he had spilled bear on my camera bag he told me to “deal with it.””

Peter Barss says no crowd control

“Just as Dr. John started his set I pushed my way out of the crowd and found one of Heather Gibson’s security men. I asked him if he could have the crowd moved. His reply: “I can’t do anything about it. They can stand if they want to.””

“In addition to their rudeness, the people in the crowd blocked the view of the stage. When I stood on my tiptoes I occasionally saw the top of Dr. John’s head. Myra could not see the stage at all.”

“About half way through Dr. John’s third song we left in frustration and anger. Many other people near us were also outraged and many of them left when we did.”

“Heather Gibson said there was “no lack of crowd control.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely no crowd control.”

“The solution is not rocket science. Someone, probably MC Louise Renault, could have been asked to tell the people crowding the stage to leave that area so that people sitting could see. Two or three members of the Heather Gibson security patrol could have kept them out.”

“As it was, many people who paid the thirty dollars admission fee saw very little of Dr. John but had a very good view of a bunch of drunks waving cups of beer in the air.”

To which we say, c’mon Heather. You’re not going to stonewall your way out of this one.

CBC Information Morning interview on July 10, 2013 CBC Information Morning Dr John show S Pate

Jazz East Executive Director Heather Gibson’s response CBC Information Morning Dr John show – H Gibson

1 Comment

  1. Listen Mr. Barss,

    Unless the last concert you’ve been to was Barry Mailow then you have some pretty unrealistic expectations. Not saying that today’s youth are the most respectful generation (most of us are a-holes to be honest). But to expect a crowd, who were just as excited as your were, to kindly move out of your way so that you and your wife may see the stage? Say it out loud to yourself a couple of times, then you can really hear how rcomment_IDiculous it sounds. Concerts are about the fans who are really into the music, not about who’s pacomment_ID the most for front row seats. If you really want to see the performance than stand up and open your eyes. There’s nothing worse than going to a show (as a spectator or a performer) and seeing a bunch of people sitting still in their seats with their hands folded on their laps. The more energy in a crowd the more spectacular the performance and experience.

    Maybe next year Heather Gibson and the board of the TD Jazz fest should conscomment_IDer putting in a Senior Citizen section, so that you may have someone to complain to that cares.

    I’ve heard nothing but raving reviews about the Jazz fest every year, so keep it going the way it’s going.

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