February 05, 2009


The Cat is finally out of the bag, along with the Demon, the Starchild and the Spaceman: Kiss is coming back to Halifax.

Concert promoter Harold MacKay announced at a media conference on Tuesday morning that the veteran makeup-and-leather clad classic rock act will headline Halifax Rocks 2009 on the Halifax Commons on Saturday, July 18, with a limit of 40,000 tickets going on sale this Friday.

'There s a lot that s been written and said about the types of music that Halifax wants to see, and what we keep hearing is it wants good ol rock n roll,' said MacKay, who has been trying for two years to persuade Kiss to return to the Maritimes for the first time since the mid- 70s.

MacKay s company, Power Promotional Events, produced last year s Country Rocks 2008 show with Keith Urban, which drew about 25,000 and a series of all-star country concerts on Moncton s Magnetic Hill.

Members of the Kiss Army have been crossing their fingers since November, when the band s fire-breathing bassist Gene Simmons leaked the news that they d be playing a series of Canadian dates this summer, specifically naming Halifax as one of the stops. Over the past few weeks, newspaper ads featuring the distinctive Kiss kabuki-style makeup designs have been directing the curious to a Halifax Rocks 2009 website.

On Monday, the website revealed the event was a go as well as the Friday sale date. The show will feature the current KISS lineup of band founders Simmons and Paul Stanley, with drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer, plus four other major rock acts whose names will be released in the coming weeks.

'Obviously these will be rock and roll bands, there won t be any rap acts on the bill,' said MacKay. 'Actually, Gene Simmons has made it very clear in the contract that they must approve all of the bands that play for us.

'One of the things we hope to do is have a battle of the bands contest with the help of our media partners, which will allow us to have a local act open the show. We did that in Moncton and it worked very well.'

Power Promotional Events is working with Events Halifax to produce the day-long event, while Halifax Regional Municipality will provide services including transit, policing and off-site cleanup up to a cost of $150,000. Grant MacDonald of Events Halifax predicted the concert would 'provide economic spinoffs in themillions of dollars,' while the combination of Kiss and the Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival 2009 that same weekend would keep downtown hotels, restaurants and shops busy.

As with previous Commons concerts like the Rolling Stones in 2006 and Country Rocks 2008, there are concerns over damage to the turf on the downtown green space; however District 12 councillor Dawn Sloane said after the conference that the municipality is learning from previous experience how to reduce their impact on the area.

'We ll be striving to make sure the effect on the Commons is minimal, and maintain good communication with the residents around the Commons,' explained Sloane. 'There s always room for improvement, but I m pretty comfortable that this will be a success for the downtown core.'

Tickets on Friday will be at an 'early bird' price of $89 (including taxes) for general admission and $279 (including taxes) for a limited number of VIP area tickets. They will be available via the Ticket Atlantic box office (451-1221 or and select Atlantic Superstore outlets.