Mosaic Place to heavily pursue concerts, major events City manager to lead quest to drastically improve number of events at local facility
Mosaic Place will be a much busier place if the plan put in place by Moose Jaw city council at their most recent meeting reaches fruition.
In addition to deciding to bring in a third-party manager for the 4,500-seat events and entertainment complex, council also passed a plan to allow city manager Jim Puffalt to actively pursue major events, with the goal of bringing in at least one show a month outside of two months in the summer, for a minimum of 10 elite shows a year.
The day after the decision, Puffalt had a message for concert and event promoters.
“Be prepared for a message from us, because we’re ready,” he said in a press release “Mosaic Place was created not only as home for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, but as a venue that could host several other entertainment and sporting events every year. Our team is skilled and able to look after your every need to ensure a successful event.”
Puffalt comes from a place of experience when it comes to making such a statement – as city manager in Estevan, he was responsible for bringing in Motley Crue during their 2013 tour, a surprising coup given the size of the community and stature of one of the 1980s most popular bands.
“That was a tough sell because I had to convince people we could spend that much money, but there was no question in my mind that with classic rock and bands everyone recognizes, if you can get them to come, with the ticket sales and food and beverage and merch, that’s where your money comes from,” Puffalt said. That’s the plan for Mosaic Place going forward. “We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do,” Puffalt continued. “There was some activity; it’s not like there wasn’t, but sometimes you have to get out there and get at it and let people know you’re available to do things. I’m not trying to be critical of anything that happened before, but from doing it before, I know some of the pitfalls and some of things you have to do to bring a show in. So, we’re pretty excited about it.”
The idea that the previous DFFH board wasn’t trying to bring in shows was a source of concern for Coun. Brian Swanson during the council meeting, as he pointed to the presence of the Brandt Centre and Conexus Arts Centre in Regina as major competition for any shows in Moose Jaw. Add in the weak Canadian dollar and economic downturn in western Canada, in general, and attracting shows, becomes far more difficult, he said.
Puffalt aims to work around that by promoting just how good the 2011-opened Mosaic Place actually is.
“We do have the nicest facility in southern Saskatchewan,” Puffalt said. “It has great acoustics and similar seat size to the Brandt Centre and we certainly beat the Conexus Arts Centre, so we’re a great location for a show.” With that, the key going forward will be getting word out that Moose Jaw is willing to go above and beyond to bring shows in.
“I’ve been talking to people for the better part of two months and saying that ‘I think we’re back, I think we’re back’ and now that I’ve got confirmation that we are, I think I had a lot more interest this week than before; it was ‘when you guys are ready, let us know, we’ll get at ‘er’,” Puffalt said.
He pointed to the recent Celtic Thunder show as an example of just what he plans to offer and how proficient the Mosaic Place staff are at meeting the needs not only of incoming acts, but also long-term tenants.
“The Celtic Thunder show, we hit every mark we were supposed to; we were right on time and we went above and beyond on customer service,” Puffalt said. “I took the band down to YaraCentre so they could kick the soccer ball around. Those are things you have to do if you want to have that reputation as a first-class place. You bend over backwards and you treat them like rock stars because that’s what they are.”
The Mosaic Place team also quickly and efficiently set up the Celtic Thunder stage the night after a Warrior game and had things torn down in time for a Midget AAA Generals game the following evening.
“So that shows just how good they are at what they do and how quickly they can get things done,” Puffalt said. Mosaic Place has played host to concerts since opening, from Carrie Underwood to John Mellencamp, Alice Cooper, Chicago, Alan Jackson and others. Mosaic Place has also been the site of several major sporting events including the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, 2014 Telus Cup and 2012 Canada Cup of Curling. Mosaic Place will once again host the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in February 2020.