FYI Music Gets Tour of New 5K-Cap OLG Stage In Niagara Falls
A busload of journalists and social media “influencers” left Toronto on Feb. 16 to get a private tour of the new OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario, a 5000-capacity soft-seat theatre built from scratch with a private capital investment of more than $130 million.
While some acts like Blue Rodeo, Michael Bolton and the Lumineers have already played the venue, the grand opening is officially this weekend (Feb. 25) with a sold-out concert by Billy Joel.
The 200,000 sq. ft. facility has a 64,000 sq. ft stage and no seat is more than 150 feet from the stage, a selling point to be sure, as well as the comfortable high-back chairs in the upper level.
The afternoon tour included a mini-set by Juno Award-winning rock band The Beaches.
“The biggest thing I noticed is how amazing it sounds onstage,” said drummer Eliza McDaniel during a post-show Q&A. The entire band also expressed their love of the Nerf Gun wall backstage.
Construction began on the state-of-the-art theatre in 2017 and was on track to open in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic hit. It is located near the Hilton and Fallsview hotels. A few more hotels will be built around the area. Everything — from restaurants to the casino — is interconnected by glass-enclosed walkways.
Christophe Gauthier, partner at ARK and prime architect for Niagara Falls Entertainment Partnership (NFEP), was also on hand for the media day, which included local press.
He tells FYI, “First of all, we had to make sure everybody had a view, create the shape, get it under 150 feet, and after you add layers, working with the acoustical engineer to get the experience for the audience.”
Other acts scheduled to play OLG Stage include Bret Michaels (March 18), Pitbull (April 8), Carly Pearce (April 22), Billy Idol (May 5), Cheap Trick (May 27), Daughtry (June 21), John Fogerty (June 30), Steve Miller Band (July 8), Kane Brown (Aug. 19), Rod Stewart (Sept. 2) and Kenny Loggins (Sept. 8.), in addition to non-musical entertainers like America’s Got Talent-winning ventriloquist Terry Fator (April 13) and comedian Dane Cook (April 15).
Ante Zlomislic, director of entertainment and events for Niagara Casinos, tells FYI Music News that the agents he’s spoken with are excited about the new option for their artists across the border from Buffalo and a 70km drive from the Greater Toronto Area.
“There’s not much as a 5000-capacity venue, but also as a 5000-soft seater. I don’t think there’s anything in Canada of that size,” he says. “Even other casinos that are 5000 have more of a flat box arena feel. So that’s going to be the big draw for people who want to see that show that’s a little bit bigger than a Massey [Hall] but not at a stadium level yet.”
There is a negotiable radius clause put in place until an artist has played the venue, he says.
As for pulling acts across the border says that’s a little bit tougher if they’re doing a U.S. tour to come up and just do a one-stop, “but we’ve been seeing some great results with the East Coast and Connecticut, just getting routing together.”