By Kelli Gustafson – RogersPlace.com
After playing nine sold-out 360-degree shows in only six days, the fondly dubbed ‘Garthmania’ that infected the entire city of Edmonton has finally come to a close. And with that, the Rogers Place team can stop and reflect on the groundbreaking achievements the new venue was able to accomplish.
“I’ve never done anything this ambitious,” said Rogers Place Event Manager Andrea Carroll Papirny.
Even with 16 years of experience in the live entertainment industry, Papirny has never been witness to a tour run of this scale.
“The relationship of Garth Brooks to Rogers Place will go down in history.”
“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us all. We are so lucky as a team that we were able to have this experience and have him, after 21 years, come back to Edmonton,” she added.
But this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity also met Rogers Place with some new challenges that put the venue to the test.
Although every event at Rogers Place can offer new learnings, the biggest challenge during Garth Brooks was the turnover of the building in an extremely short timeframe during his double-show days. Recognizing this was something unprecedented for the venue, the team at Rogers Place spent months planning every aspect of the operation and every second of the 45-minute allotted turnover time.
“There are lots of moving parts,” said Papirny. “There’s the conversions crew, the housekeeping crew and the food and beverage team.”
From restocking, cleaning and resetting chairs in-between shows, the building also had to plan how it was going to transition approximately 18,000 people out, while bringing another 18,000 in.
“It was unreal. That just goes to show the incredible teamwork for all of the departments, all working together.”
Papirny credits Rogers Place Director of Security, Kevin Kobi, and Assistant General Manager of Guest Experience, Stuinunn Parsons — along with help from Edmonton Police Services (EPS) — for the successful ingress and egress plans.
“Until you actually see it in motion, it’s just a plan on a piece of paper,” said Papirny. “But it’s everyone that we work with that puts that plan and that piece of paper to action — and we nailed it!”
Not only did the venue set their own record for fastest turnaround, but they set a new record for the tour’s fastest turnaround on a double-show day — taking just under 30 minutes before they were ready to open doors again for the next show!
“It was unreal. That just goes to show the incredible teamwork for all of the departments, all working together,” said Papirny with a smile.
She added, “Not only did we continually meet their [the tour’s] expectations, but we exceeded them.”
But before the tour came to a close, Rogers Place left the country music superstar with an unforgettable send-off.
During the show on Friday, February 24, Trisha interrupted her own set to invite Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson, and Rogers Place General Manager Susan Darrington, up onto the stage.
Thanking both Garth and Trisha for the incredible energy they brought to Rogers Place, Nicholson and Darrington revealed the newest banner to decorate the Rogers Place rafters — commemorating the nine sold-out concerts.
“That’s awesome!” Garth said, overcome by emotion.
In a special video message from Wayne Gretzky, the Great One himself congratulated Garth and Trisha on their achievement.
The crowd erupted in an electrifying cheer as he added, “As you can tell we have the greatest fans in Edmonton, and in Alberta!”
Even without the banner as a permanent reminder, fans and those involved in the success of the nine Garth Brooks shows at Rogers Place will not soon be forgetting the excitement created by ‘Garthmania’.
“The relationship of Garth Brooks to Rogers Place will go down in history,” said Papirny.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT GOES INTO THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES OPERATION OF LIVE EVENTS AND THE GARTH BROOKS SHOWS AT ROGERS PLACE, CHECK OUT THIS SUNDAY’S IN-DEPTH ON EDMONTONOILERS.COM
Can’t get enough of Garth? Be sure to check out the links below: