Call for refund by disappointed Stereophonics fans

Amanda Cook writes about the bitter experience of a snow-affected Stereophonics gig.

I’m hoping to draw attention to an ongoing campaign to secure refunds for those affected by the severe weather warnings that prevented thousands of fans getting to the Stereophonics gig at the Genting Arena on 1st March. There is a Facebook group working towards this, and several reports have been made to BBC Watchdog and other media outlets.

In short, the gig went ahead in the face of widespread weather warnings, public transport cancellations, and Met Office advice not to travel unless absolutely necessary. A best guess is that approximately £250,000 worth of tickets were unused because fans could not get to the arena. The fact that the show went ahead (unlike Paul Weller’s gig the following night which was postponed, and lots of other events on 1st March were also cancelled) attracted widespread negative publicity locally on the television and radio.

In response, after the show and the scale of the disruption was clear, Stereophonics issued a public statement acknowledging our difficulties and told us to hold onto our tickets as they were “working with the venue and the promoters to address the situation” and would update us in the next few days. Those affected were naturally delighted and the criticism turned to praise. Unfortunately what followed would suggest that this was nothing more than a cynical attempt to deflect the negative publicity at the time, because we then waited for approximately three weeks for an official announcement, and nothing came.

Instead, those that had complained to various outlets started to receive private emails to say that there would be no refund coming as the show went ahead, and a new show for those affected wouldn’t be happening either.

Instead, as what was described as a “goodwill gesture,” they made a time limited offer to some of us (although inexplicably not everyone received even this) of a £25 discount on purchases for tickets to the Rize festival (in Chelmsford!) where Stereophonics are headlining, but not even a discount on every ticket… just the total purchase if more than one was taken up within a couple of days. So, in short, their solution was to ask us to pay even more on top of that which we had lost, to travel 150 miles from Birmingham to see them play a shorter festival set.

After the disappointment subsided, we might well have put it down to experience and thought that at least they offered something as an act of goodwill. However, what we saw was the Twitter feed of drummer Jamie Morrison (@popmorrison) and, in particular, the tweets that he has liked concerning our complaints about the situation. There is ridicule and self pity that we have the audacity to expect them to follow through on what they appeared to be suggesting they would do, and not simply pocket our hard-earned cash and ask for even more of it.

There is also a distinct lack of sympathy that it is our own fault for not spending a little extra on ticket insurance. In fact, a lot of us did, but insurance will not pay out in circumstances where a show goes ahead, unless medical evidence can be produced as reason for your inability to attend. Furthermore, the fact that they told us to hold onto our tickets meant that many with insurance didn’t claim, expecting a refund or a new date, and when the low-key derisory offer eventually did come, the deadline to claim on insurance had passed.

On the day of the show, social media was flooded with messages begging the organisers to postpone . During the show, video footage shows Kelly Jones referencing the “three thousand or four thousand people who didn’t get to the show” and how it was “a bit of a unique situation.” Genting Arena told the local press that over 8,700 attended from a capacity of 15,500.

I’m aware of the position of others affected because of a Facebook page set up by a fellow fan called David Wilson, calledLet Down by the… Stereophonics which currently has 248 members but is growing daily. Upon starting the group, David emailed the band’s personal assistant Natalie to ask for the band to be told of the gathering momentum and sense of injustice amongst fans on social media.

He sent that email before we noticed that Jamie Morrison was liking posts that suggested that the band knew exactly how we felt and simply don’t care. (Incidentally, Jamie has also liked a comment screenshotting the Facebook page title which is described as “seriously pathetic.”) Some of the Twitter posts appear to have disappeared as word of our campaign is getting through.

Dozens of fans have reported the matter to BBC Watchdog. The Genting Arena abdicated responsibility by saying it was a matter for the promoters and ticketing agents. I bought our tickets from the Ticket Factory who responded to say that, as the show went ahead, they wouldn’t assist. We are now trying to rally media support. The fact that there has been no public announcement of their insulting ‘goodwill gesture’ and a band member is appearing to mock our position is something attention should be drawn to.

A later gig at Wembley was similarly affected and went ahead without thousands of fans. Those affected there are in contact with media closer to the stadium, but I shudder to think how much of our money has been banked, when we have received nothing in return but ridicule and contempt. Of course, no-one is to blame for the snow. Our complaint is first that the shows went ahead at all, but predominantly the fact that the band publicly raised the hopes of thousands of disappointed fans in the glare of negative publicity and then dropped us once media attention had moved on.

The two tickets of my friend and I cost a total of £130. She has multiple sclerosis and works two jobs to make ends meet, and had waited years to see this band live. We had purchased our tickets six months previously, booking two days off work to make the most of the event, not for one second thinking that snow would wreck everything. She has to work for eleven hours to earn enough to pay the £65 for her ticket, so I hope you can forgive us for not letting this go.

All we want is for someone to show us some semblance of goodwill, because the way in which this has been dealt with has left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of disgruntled fans who work damned hard to have a little enjoyment in their lives and it seems that we’re being shrugged off as an irritation by millionaire musicians who should know better and would appear to place no value on our support.

21 thoughts on “Call for refund by disappointed Stereophonics fans

  1. I totally agree with the post above. I’m a fellow fan who has been left feeling very disappointed with the apparent lack of sympathy and respect for the safety of the fans when all the warnings from the emergency services and the Met Office were not to travel. The way we were then led to believe that something was going to be done for us and the total lack of communication that followed has felt me feeling that money was considered far more important and that the statement was merely a way of holding our protests at bay and avoiding media attention at the time. It should also be noted that other gigs and events around the time were handled in a much more understanding way. Some artists advised fans not to put themselves at risk and that they were welcome to exchange their tickets for a future date. Others took the decision to cancel the gig altogether rather than risk fans trying to get there in what were very unique weather conditions. Stereophonic fans at both the Birmingham and the Wembley concerts sadly were not afforded those options. The fact that a band member has left ‘likes’ on very unpleasant comments about our situation has left some loyal Stereophonic fans (such as my family) feeling very let down.

  2. I am one of the many people affected by this and am £480.00 out of pocket. Insurance does not cover punters because the gig went ahead. The indifference by the band is unbelievable. Please can somebody see our position and if able to assist and promote this injustice so eloquently portrayed by Amanda.

  3. Shameful attitude from the band and all those in cahoots with them. They should not be allowed to get away with it. Thanks for highlighting the issue.

  4. I got my daughter tickets for this concert for her 17th birthday. After trying to get to the venue on the night but being unsuccessful due to gridlocked traffic left her in tears.
    After seeing the post by the band I thought the band was going to do the right thing for the fans who couldn’t make it. Little did I know that this was just a tactic to appease the fans until the threat of negative publicity died down. I was offered a derisory £25 off one ticket to a festival that obviously wasn’t selling well.
    Not only am I out of pocket for the tickets I also have to buy more tickets for my daughter as I cannot leave her without a birthday present.
    I used to love this band and even had my first dance at my wedding to their version of First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. I never expected they would show such contempt to their fans, even selling extra tickets for the show when they knew people couldn’t attend.
    Shame on them!

  5. I was effected by this …I live in the Midlands so wasn’t even long journey …due to weather my commute home took 3 hours so didn’t get home till after 2100 …took 2 hours for last half mile of journey …roads were treacherous…I had to abandon my car at petrol station and walk last part home …I had been stressing all day about making the trip out that night to the concert as was so looking forward to it …as it transpires decision was taken away from me as couldn’t even get home from work safely without abandoning car….I know people that did make it there and said how scary the drive was…I’m sure many at concert weren’t fully able to enjoy through worry as to what the conditions would be like after concert finished !

  6. Thank you to posting Amanda’s letter Me and my husband are just 2 of the thousands of fans that were affected by this We were due to travel from S Wales where there was a RED weather alert in place and people advised not to travel Why this concert was given to go ahead is beyond belief ! The band and it’s promoters clearly did not have the safety interest of its fans at heart but were more concerned with their profits because if it had been cancelled they would have lost out I hope that someone will take this story further so that many thousands fans get the justice that they deserve

  7. I bought three tickets at a cost of around £150, two were for my daughters Christmas presents. We were astounded that the gig was still going ahead despite the current and worsening weather conditions not to mention the Met Office warnings. I attempted to travel but after three miles gave up putting safety first. We were all bitterly disappointed to miss the gig but our spirits rose the next day with news that the band were looking at ways to address the situation. However the weeks have gone by and now those of us asking about how the situation is going to be addressed are made to feel like pathetic moaners and publicly derided by Jamie Morrison on Twitter! Sad and shameful- I’ve seen Stereophonics many times and my daughters have been brought up listening to them but those songs which were relatable or evoked memories are now soured. Let’s hope that a conscience is pricked somewhere and all of the disappointed fans will at least get a refund.

  8. I agree with Amanda’s comments.
    The authorities were advising people not to travel on 1st March and red and amber warnings of risk to life were in place. Therefore, I consider it irresponsible of the organisers to have allowed these events to take place.
    Initially the fans who couldn’t make the Birmingham concert were advised to keep their tickets whilst the band “worked to address the situation” but since then there has been no further response. Fans who have been loyal for many years are frustrated by this uncaring attitude and find it very hard to accept.

  9. I have to say that as an avid fan for many years, I am disappointed in how loyal fans have been treated. Yes no-one is to blame for the snow, however as so many didn’t make it due to adverse travelling conditions, the right thing to do would be to offer us tickets to subsequent concerts foc, not an offer of £25 off tickets to a festival most of us can’t make. Other events were cancelled due to the weather, I understand why this wasn’t, but a gesture would be appreciated. I love the band , always have, but I really can’t feel the same way about them. The promise they gave to ‘sort something out’ filled me with hope and admiration, but what they did offer was little short of an insult. Sort lads you have lost my support and loyalty and as for the liked tweets, really rubs salt in the wounds.

  10. Lost £160 on this concert as weather stopped us getting there. insurance wouldnt cover cost as concert went ahead. Credit card wouldn’t cover cost as concert went ahead. How can so many thousands of people loose so much money through no fault of their own because concert wasn’t postponed. Other concerts on during the bad weather that still went ahead offered other dates for unused ticket (those that couldn’t get there) this was the fair thing to do when there was so many. This was what stereophonics should have done!! It would have been the fair thing to do

  11. Bought tickets for my husbands birthday. We set out early but it was physically impossible for us to get there. Our train ground to a halt due to overhead cable, buses terminated, and taxis wouldn’t guarantee they could get us there. Reluctantly we headed home. Bitterly disappointed we’ve been let down by the band, promoters and venue.

  12. We too missed out on this gig. It was a surprise from my wife fir my birthday. She was gutted we couldn’t go and even more disappointed when we found out there was nibrefund.
    We felt better in the morning after the gig when the band put out there announcement as we thought how caring they were…. Clearly not.
    I feel insulted that they want us to spend more money to save a poxy £25 when it would cost double that to get there and back.
    I hope they sleep well in there millionaire massions

  13. I was affected by this too. There was no way we could travel to and from Birmingham from Pontypridd in those conditions safely. I asked if I could transfer my tickets to the Cardiff gig the following week but was told there was “no mechanism to transfer tickets”. Ticket insurance won’t pay out because the show went ahead. A real gesture of goodwill towards fans would be much appreciated.

  14. Like many of the people who had tickets to see sterophonicd, I have been a fan for yours and am a little bit sad at the offhand way fans have been treated. Obviously the snow was nobody’s fault& many fans did make it to the show but many couldn’t. For those who couldn’t the statement made by the band later that night put a smile on our faces, well it did mine. And yet they have done nothing apart from offer £25 off festival tickets. I didn’t even get an email about that. So I feel that they raised my hopes only to let me down!

  15. I agree with what has been said. I too have lost out . The decision wasn’t taken lightly not to go but when there are weather warnings advising you not to go and being a mother of 2 young children we couldn’t chance getting there and not being able to get back. As it turns out we couldn’t leave our village until the Saturday due to the snow drifts we had.

  16. We fully support Amanda’s comments. We live 30 minutes away from the Genting Arena in Birmingham but only 1 mile from our home my wife took the decision to turn around and go back home as the local roads were treacherous. She had worried all day about the weather conditions and we expected the concert to be cancelled. We cannot believe it went ahead. We are pleased for all those who risked their lives to get there and hope they all got home safely but they should not have had to attempt the journey in the first place. Stereophonics posted after the concert that they believed between 3-4000 people were unable to get there so that could equate up to £250,000 worth of ticket sales. We are annoyed that they told fans to hold on to their tickets and that they would be in talks with the Promotor/Venue with a view to rectify the situation and that we would be updated a few days later We were then IGNORED We feel extremely LET DOWN and feel the only thing that can redeem them is for all the Birmingham AND Wembley fans who were UNABLE TO TRAVEL DUE TO EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS are now granted FULL REFUNDS The fact that SO MANY PEOPLE ARE FUMING about how this whole situation was handled surely shows HOW WRONG THIS IS! Someone needs TO DO THE RIGHT THING!

  17. Well put. I’m also a disgruntled fan who has lost money. The money I lost was a weeks shopping for my family of 5.

  18. Like many others my wife and me decided to take the advice of the police and others not to travel the 50 miles to the gig. We were looking forward to the concert of course and consider ourselves to be treated with a certain amount of contempt. One troll on the Facebook page says he got there ok and was ok with having to spend 3 days afterwards stuck in Birmingham. Sorry not an option, and it kind of underlines our argument. The band could actually gain so much here but seem to be missing an opportunity.

  19. I only live 25 miles from the Genting Arena but it’s in the countryside and roads were closed due to 5′ snow drifts. It’s appalling they tell us to keep our tickets and then there is nothing that can be done. Paul Weller did the correct thing by cancelling the following evening

  20. Cannot agree more can the band review there poor response and show some class instead of ignoring the situatiion

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