David Wilson takes up the story of the Welsh band and the weather.
Six months have now passed since at least 12,000 fans were unable to attend one of four Stereophonics concerts, held at Brighton, Birmingham and Wembley, while the Beast From The East made it dangerous or impossible to travel. There’s still not a word of recognition or apology from lead singer and band frontman Kelly Jones.
The stories behind at least three of the four concerts are swamped in scandal, as most would agree the concerts should not have gone ahead for reasons of public and staff safety, the weather conditions causing at least ten deaths throughout the country.
Although the band made announcements claiming that all local authorities had given the go ahead, it has been proved (by FOI requests) that this didn’t happen. Indeed there were many police, Met Office and transport notices advising people not to travel at the time.
An untold number (1,000 has been suggested) unable to attend Brighton Arena gave indication that many more would be affected over the next few days as worsening weather and storms had been forecast. The band travelled the day before to the next concert, so there was no danger of them being caught out and the decision to continue with the show was made long before conditions worsened.
Although common for a handful of production tickets to become available at a date closer to a show, it seems quite suspicious that up to a thousand standing tickets became available on the day for the sold-out Genting Arena concert.
Around 7,000 fans that couldn’t attend the Birmingham concert were told by public announcement to hold onto their tickets as the band were working with venue & promoter to address the situation with an assured update in a few days. Criticism turned to praise until those few days turned into weeks with still no update.
Tickets sold via the band’s own website and through a CD promotion did not come with an insurance offer, but people who did have insurance lost out as they’d held onto their tickets, as instructed, expecting to use them for a later show as implied by the statement. Ticket holders for the other shows, including two at Wembley Arena, were not given the courtesy of any announcement, but had hoped the same applied to them. In reality they had just been ignored and overlooked.
When complaints an d queries to band and venues were finally answered after three weeks, punters were informed that there would be no show or refund, but they should receive an offer of discount to the Rize festival where the band were headlining. It seems that only those that had complained or written received these emails and even fewer received the offer, which turned out to be a total of £25 discount to the underwhelming replacement for the V-Festival. This was an inadequate and totally unsuitable offer for the majority that had spent hundreds on multiples of tickets.
This disappointing saga has led to a Facebook campaign and the group ‘Let Down By The Stereophonics’ now has over a thousand members. They have vowed to continue campaigning until a suitable offer or refund is made. Some of the members are Welsh and say they have supported the band since before they were famous, but are now so disgusted by their treatment they will no longer listen to or spend any more money on the band.