Fees Waived for Drive-In Concert Series Despite Pushback from Some Councillors

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Windsor council has agreed to waive rental fees for a drive-in concert series at the waterfront, but the decision isn't sitting well with a few councillors.

Chris Holt, Kieran McKenzie and Rino Bortolin voted against the request citing a lack of consultation with the Downtown Windsor BIA and local artist groups.

The waiver will save AEP Events Inc. nearly $23,000 for a number of shows planned in September and October at Riverfront Festival Plaza.

Holt says he'd like to see entertainment hosted at bars and restaurants to give the local hospitality sector a boost during the pandemic.

"Now that we're getting into Stage 3 and the local hospitality sector is able to invite musicians and live musical acts into their establishments it would be best to support them in that and not have these, essentially subsidized, concerts at the Festival Plaza," says Holt.

He adds he would have liked to see more information before moving forward.

"We weren't presented with actual acts or actual programming for the space," he says.  "We were just given a request to waive fees. So we didn't even really know exactly what they were going to be doing down there and there was too much missing information."

Holt says he'd prefer small businesses be given a break before a for-profit company.

"This is a for-profit company that is asking for a waiver and I really felt we really need to continue supporting our local hospitality industry and the music acts that they bring in. They deserve to be supported in this and that's why I opposed that."

Last month, council agreed to waive $27,000 in rental fees for the Windsor International Film Festival to host its  "WIFF Under the Stars" drive-in movie festival — Holt says the difference there was WIFF is a not-for-profit, local organization with a long standing relationship with the city.

- with files from AM800's Rob Hindi