When some people think of Moncton, they may think of it as “The Hub” of The Maritimes, that city that’s just a few hours away from Halifax, or its close proximity to the Northumberland Straight; however, some people travel here for the concerts that are held in the north end of the city, at the Magnetic Hill Concert Site.
The concert site was originally built in 1984 for Pope John Paul II when he did his tour of Canada, and delivered a mass to thousands of people at the grounds of what are now known as the Magnetic Hill concert site.
There are a few things that make this concert venue very unique. First off, it is built on a slight incline; therefore, whether you are in the front of the crowd bursting your ear drums, or in the very back, you will always have a great view of the performance. This makes the show enjoyable for everyone in the crowd. Secondly, Moncton is a central city in The Maritimes. It is two and a half hours away from both Halifax and Calais, ME, and is also just under an hour away from the Confederation Bridge. This makes the city very practical to visit, and attracts thousands of non-Monctonians to the concert venue. Lastly, Magic Mountain, Magnetic Hill & the Magnetic Hill Zoo is just a walk away from the concert venue, so when one is in town for a concert, they will be occupied with lots of things to do when not at the concert.
Lots of Monctonians have attended the concerts held at Magnetic Hill over the years, one of them being MacNaughton’s very own Mr. Lusk. He tells The Highlander News about his experiences at the concert site – from being in high school to adulthood.
Reflecting back on his experience at the 1998 Classic Rock Festival, Lusk says, “My parents went away for the weekend and they left me 40 bucks just in case [I needed it]; I spent that 40 bucks on a ticket, since they went on sale that weekend. I ended up running out of gas because I didn’t end up having any money to put in the tank and I called my grandmother to come pick me up. She had a jerry can of lawnmower gas and came; it was on Pacific Ave and I had to knock on someone’s door to use their phone. Heart closed on Friday night and Lynyrd Skynyrd closed Saturday. I remember I ran into a guy from school, and luckily he was small because he jumped onto my shoulders for the whole encore, which was Freebird.”
When asked the difference between experiencing the Hill in high school compared to adulthood, he says that, “I didn’t camp out when I was older and when I was younger I would camp out. The tolerance for the craziness has gone down since I have gotten older.”
This concert site is a major attraction for people outside the city, or even Maritimes, to get a taste of what Moncton is like; however, there hasn’t been as many concerts in recent years. If the city is looking to become more diverse and vibrant, booking more shows of major artists will attract many outsiders to view what Moncton has to offer.