Amanda Cook updates the Stereophonics ticket story.
The anger of out of pocket Stereophonics fans continues to rise as news of the total number of people affected by March’s red and amber weather warnings throughout the UK has begun to emerge.
The band played on in Birmingham and Wembley on 1st and 2nd March despite pleas from thousands of fans throughout the day for postponement as the Beast From The East left fans facing train cancellations, impossible driving conditions, and Met Office warnings not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Dozens of other events on those dates were cancelled or postponed.
Local press in the Midlands had reported that “over 8,700” fans attended the show at the 15,000 capacity Genting Arena on 1st March. There had been no press reports of audience numbers at Wembley the following evening, but posts on the growing Facebook group Let Down by the… Stereophonics , which now has almost 300 members, have stated that reference was made to 4,000 missing fans by the band’s frontman Kelly Jones during the London show.
With thousands of fans now known to have been left out in the cold from all areas of the UK across the two dates, disappointed concert goers are incensed that the band’s management continue to ignore the campaign for refunds when tickets with a potential value of £500,000 were left unused. Pleas for goodwill by Facebook group moderators are currently being met with a wall of silence from the band’s management and ticket agents.
The anger of those affected was amplified by the social media activity of the group’s drummer Jamie Morrison, who appeared to revel in their dismay in the weeks that followed the shows by liking several tweets mocking those out of pocket for not paying for ticket insurance at the time of booking. The band had publicly stated in the aftermath of the Birmingham show that fans should hold to their tickets as they were working with the venue and promoters to address the situation, and an update would follow shortly.
Instead, no further official announcement came and when individual emails began to be sent out from 23rd March offering some fans £25 off total bookings of tickets to the Rize Festival in Chelmsford, 150 miles away from Birmingham, the 14-day deadline for claims to be made by those who had paid for insurance had passed.
Many fans in the Facebook group received no offer of the festival discount at all, and some with insurance have been told that their terms do not cover them in these circumstances, particularly when organisers publicly insisted that local authorities were adamant that conditions were safe enough for the show to go ahead as planned.
There has been a marked contrast between the handling of the matter by Stereophonics and the approach taken by other high-profile live acts due to play in the region during the weather disruption. Paul Weller, in postponing his Genting Arena show the night after the Stereophonics gig, said: “We want to make sure that everyone stays as safe as possible.” Elbow, postponing a night later, said: “The safety of all fans is paramount,” while local heroes Magnum, whose Town Hall gig was cancelled at the last minute, have already re-scheduled a replacement at the bigger Symphony Hall for later this month.