The inaugural event at the park on Saturday was plagued with long lineups and massive delays for patrons exiting the venue on Corkstown Road. The 500-acre property is owned by the National Capital Commission, which is leasing it to the Wesley Parks Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Terry Matthews’ investment management firm.
“On behalf of Wesley Clover Parks and our partners in the delivery of the Shania Twain concert (Saturday) night, we’d like to apologize for any delays, discomfort and inconveniences that occurred during the exit at the end of the night,” began the apology posted on the Wesley Clover Parks Facebook page after the concert.
WCP went on to say it “will seriously review the viability of events of that size at Wesley Clover Parks, and will only agree to host future events of that magnitude if we are assured that a far more workable plan can be deployed and effectively executed,” before thanking concert-goers for their patience and their feedback.
That feedback came fast and furious on the page following the apology.
“Know that everyone I talked to, which was many waiting for the bus, would NEVER come back to Wesley Clover Parks for any sort of outdoor concert again,” wrote Stephanie Bunda, adding she would come back to attend and compete at horse shows at the former Nepean Equestrian Park because those were run “flawlessly.”
Lise Lacelle called it a “sad excuse for an apology” because it only addressed the delays exiting the venue and failed to mention the long lineups for food and drinks.
Some concert-goers, such as Erin Collins-Jones, were a little more understanding.
“I think they weren’t quite prepared for the huge bus lineup at the end of the night, but for their first time hosting a big concert I’d call it a success,” she wrote. “A dedicated taxi stand area would definitely help next time as well.”
Mike Ostrom took issue with the detractors in his post.
“This is why Ottawa can’t have nice things or big names refuse to come here, this isn’t the town that fun forgot, this is the town where complaining reigns supreme,” he wrote.
There were many beefs about safety issues and expensive beer, many demands for partial refunds and many posters who said they would never go back to the park for any reason at all.
Edgar Scott, however, was not one of those.
“Wesley Clover thank you for putting on this amazing concert!” he wrote. “Is there room for improvement? Yes, it was your first huge concert and Iike you indicated you acknowledge it. Looking forward to more great concerts in the future!”
More than 24,000 people attended Saturday night’s concert, which also included performances by the Doobie Brothers, Wes Mack and Dan & Shay.