Christmas had just passed and 1994 was upon us. I was working so hard to ensure the show would be successful. Many of our sponsors went on to give to other charities and had already spent their advertising budgets for the year. Most major companies ran their year from October to October. Financially? It was not looking pretty but I did not have much of a choice. The lasers and fireworks were already booked and deposits were given to many companies working with us for their services. We had 4 touring companies signed on to arrive at the show. That would mean 150 people that had already paid their bus fares and prebooked to come see the show. I had only managed to raise $11,000 so far. This was becoming a problem. Financially the show was doomed. After my father’s stunt, it would be difficult to gain trust again. The problem? The media was already having an advertising frenzy. Our show was on the radio and in the paper. People had already known about it from the ’93 advertised event. When we left Kelowna, people were informed that Calgary was the new venue site. Many were willing to drive that far and see it. Before I left Kelowna, I had a talk with the very same reporter. I told him my father was sick. Sick in the head actually. He talked about putting him in a facility. I laughed to myself. I thought to say “you mean jail”? I chuckled, couldn’t say that. We did have a great conversation and he did promise to come see the show. He was also getting bombarded with questions so he did another second page cover to his story adding that the venue site was changing. I had no idea I was to keep hitting road blocks.
Once again, I had to get permits. The fire chief, the police, the city council, air traffic control from the airport and now added to my list, the zoo. Our venue site was at Fort Calgary backing the river. Next to us was a large zoo. We needed the zoo’s approval to shoot the fireworks off. If the noise intimidated or panicked the animals in any way, we would have to move the venue site. That was the only place in Calgary next to downtown that would work to not only hold a lot of people but we needed the river and the downtown buildings to shoot fireworks off them and hanging some mirrors on the buildings. By May, our fireworks company would fly in from Vancouver and preform the sound test. We were all nervous that day as the fireworks popped over the city and the zoo. So far so good. Then at night more fireworks had to be set off for a reaction from the animals. There were none. The zoo confirmed that all was a pass! No animals were startled or reacted any differently. We got the green lights for all permits. I was beginning to worry that raising the fund’s was becoming difficult. Deep down, I hoped that a permit, any permit would not be granted. I would have a reason to not go on with the show. I surly didn’t have the funds to pay for it. Many sponsors were telling us they would sponsor the next event the following year. They were willing to sign contracts but not this year’s event. Next year is great but what about now? The event was turning out to be such a difficult journey. Getting green lights for important things but red lights for the more important things. By June I was only able to raise $25,000. How was I suppose to get 1.5 million? It was 1 million less in Calgary but still, in two months? I seemed to do my best thinking when I was with Dave. He took we out one night and just as we were going to leave, the same song ” Your eyes” came up. The one we danced to together in Vancouver. We had to have that dance together again. This time a little more sober.
My new idea was to use the businesses that were all asking for so much money, to actually be the sponsors. They would get the advertising for their businesses. First thing in the morning, I started to make my calls. I needed to see if this was going to work! I began calling our firework, laser, stage crews and set up, scaffolding and about 30 other businesses that were to work with us and get paid. I would pitch my idea to them explaining the benefits to it. Remember I was a marketer. I had to convince two of our major financial bills to basically do it for free. Together, our lasers and fireworks were to cost $750,000. The stage, scaffolding and crew would cost $70,000. The musical equipment and sound would cost $80,000. Security and staff payrolls would cost $120,000. Insurance and personal security would cost $150,000. Those were Just a few bills we had to pay. Performing in the city would be much cheaper than our original venue in Kelowna. The downtown core was now available to us instead of using mountain which would have been more expensive. One of our biggest costs was dousing the mountains and trees with water around the venue site twice the same day. British Columbia was known to be prone to forest fires. We did not have a lot of the problems and expenses in Calgary that we had in Kelowna.
For the next week I would work diligently on reducing the cost of the show. I had to track down managers, owners, so many calls, voicemails, call backs. This guy was out of town that guy on holidays, this one on medical leave, find who was taking their place, go over the whole story again, who was in what time zone, and so on. It was hell! By Friday, I managed to bring the cost down from 1.5 million to $30,000. What?? Wow was I good! The laser company would sponsor their own services bring my cost down to $3000.00. I only had to pay the fee to border security for the equipment shipment costs across the border. Fireworks would cost only $1000.00 to pay the staff for setting it up and setting them off. I had to pay for police and security at the site for that day. Staging and scaffolding would only come to $1000.00. A few other minor costs. Band members, instrumemt rentals, everything else would be free or sponsored.
It was now July. Less than one month to Fantasy ’94. Everything was falling into place other than inhad not touched a keyboard to practise what I had to do on stage. There was no time for that. The hype was more intense on the radio and in the papers. There was only one of me. So many things to do that only I could do. I had to organise so many people. Not enough hours were in the day to get it all done. We were so low on funds. Even the $30,000 was hard to scrape. We just lost our home and the boat. We didn’t have much left. I received a phone call from the laser company saying theb $3000 shipping cost payment needed to be made by Friday or they would ship the lasers back. No one had it. Where was i going to get it from? That Thursday night, my sister and I went to bingo. Trying our luck. The special was a $3000 jackpot if you bingo by yourself. “G” 54 was all I needed. I looked up into the camera and it was a green “G” ball. As the caller turned it around…it was 54! I yelled bingo so loud and waited to see if anyone else would tell with me but no one did! It was by myself! They checked my ticket and Yes! It was a good bingo! They paid me $3000 cash and all the way home my sister and I were in awe. Shocked to the core at how ironic the situation was. The next day I was able to go to the airport and pay the $3000 fee.