Another day, another concert cancellation. John Prine has pulled out of the Folk Fest raising the musician cancellation count once again. At least, he and a few others have legitimate reasons for cancelling.
Rob Zombie, The Who, Breaking Benjamin, John Prine, Kansas, Ozzy, Fleetwood Mac, and Morrisey have all cancelled stops leaving fans angry and grating for refunds. Some of these musicians have legit reasons for cancelling; medical or family issues are the most common. Fleetwood Mac, Ozzy Osbourne, John Prine, and Morrisey all ended up sick in some way and have rescheduled shows as a result.
When Cancellation is a Problem
The problem comes when bands cancel and don’t really provide a reason. Rob Zombie pulled out of Chaos AB and never provided an explanation on what happened except for “unforeseen circumstances”. He is still scheduled to play shows around that weekend and his touring partner, Marilyn Manson, is still performing. Breaking Benjamin cancelled the last 6 dates of their tour siting “production issues.” The Who cancelled their Edmonton date and then booked 2 shows in California around the Edmonton date. Kansas cancelled a show at the Jubilee with the reason of “unforeseen circumstances.” These reasons are awful and don’t provide any type of validation to the supporting fans.
What’s happening here?
Is it the fans? Ticket sales? The location?
Honestly, it may be all of the above.
Ignoring legitimate health or family reasons, many of the cancellations are likely business-related. And it sucks for everyone here. Simply put, if Edmonton isn’t buying tickets or even merchandise, then more and more musicians are going to bypass the city when planning future tours.
Breaking Benjamin siting production issues and cancelling 6 dates is likely code for low ticket sales. If the entire tour was not selling well, cancelling the dates may have been a way to protect themselves from financial trouble. The Who’s October date was a rescheduling from April. The cancellation was likely due to ticket sales as they were scheduled to only play a half arena show at Rogers Place. They then booked an extra California show and were likely to receive a much bigger paycheque and audience. Rob Zombie seems to have pulled out of the Chaos Ab show for seemingly no reason. Maybe there is a good reason, but as it stands now, there isn’t one. Even if there are low ticket sales, which seems likely since Chaos AB never did get to their third tier of ticket prices, Zombie would have been paid his regular booking fee. It was odd and left the festival organizers scrambling to find a replacement two weeks before the festival. At least the organizers found a replacement in The Cult. Even if they aren’t at the same calibre as Rob Zombie. It’s surprising they found a relatively well-known band to sign on as replacement so close to the festival date.
Travel to Edmonton is difficult while on a tour. It’s out of the way for tour circuits. At least with Calgary on the Trans Canada musicians can travel across the country in a straight line. Edmonton requires bands backtrack in their travel instead of going forward to the next city. Some tours just don’t work with the location of the city and booking dates due to travel. It’s just unfortunate.
Tell Us What’s Happening
All I’m asking for when cancellations occur is some honesty. If they are going to cancel don’t give some bull reason like production issues or unforeseen circumstances. If it’s a business decision, then state that. Don’t leave fans angry and confused waiting for an explanation. It burns bridges that musicians shouldn’t want.
Hopefully, this trend doesn’t continue into fall, winter, and next year.