Tomorrow marks the most important day of the year in Australia for the hip hop/rap/R&B community…
the start of the Supafest 2012 tour!
April 14 2012 – marks the first day of the Supafest Tour in my city of Brisbane.
The lineup features ten artists (the previous twelve has been reduced due to the cancellation of Missy Elliott and Diddy):
- Rick Ross
- Chris Brown
- Naughty By Nature
- Ice Cube
- Trey Songz
- Big Sean
- Kelly Rowland
- Lupe Fiasco
LOOK AT THE LINEUP!?! Are you NOT gagging? There was no way I was going to miss out on this gig.
How often do you get that many headline artists in one show??
This is the third Supafest and I believe this lineup is the most impressive by far.
However, as with nearly all urban music concerts which feature more than one artist in Australia – it hasn’t been free of controversy. As previously stated – Missy Elliott and P. Diddy were promoted as being headline artists early in the artist announcement period – however at the last minute both artists have come forward to declare their cancellations from performing at the festival.
Reason for cancellation
Festival organisers attributed the line up reshuffle to poor ticket sales – a result of the public’s under-appreciation of “Australia’s largest urban music festival”. Paperchase, the festival promoter, released a statement explaining that ticket sales to date “fall well short of the producers expectations to ensure commercial viability. Consequently, this has forced them to slightly modify this year’s event to ensure that Supafest carries on in years to come.”
Okay Paperchase *side eyes*– all the premium Bling Ring tickets sold out at $200 a pop nationally in all cities and general admission at $129 has been seemingly selling well too…
This statement may have some truth to it if the artist’s promo peeps/label staff require a particular quota of ticket sales BY A PRE-STATED CONTRACTUAL DATE to deem the event worthy of the presence of their artist. “Well why wouldn’t people just buy tickets earlier?” I hear you ask.
For those of you who aren’t in Australia our music festival season is in the summer time – people blow their cash over the Christmas period on gifts and festival tickets and then they are broke (unless they are earning a gwap) and don’t buy tickets to Supafest (which occurs in the Autumn or Fall) till much closer to the scheduled event.
Ticketing and promotional issues
There are a variety of reasons why people tend to hold off on or do not buy urban music festival tickets some of which include:
- they can be ridiculously expensive;
- the historical hangover of previous event promotion companies who promise artist line ups they cannot and do not deliver on;
- and they often dramatically reduce ticket prices at the last minute by as much as 75% or 2 or 3 tickets for the price of one (this happened at Chris Brown concert last year) due to poor ticket sales (namely due to an unrealistically pricey initial sale price)
My second point upsets me just as much as the third.
I specifically remember one multi-artist gig at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre when I was much younger – where I expected to see 112 and K-Ci & JoJo. Alas, when we got to the venue on the scheduled night of the gig – they surprised ticketholders with the news that the two biggest names cancelled and we were left with Ja Rule and Chingy – both of whom I’d already seen. No shade to those two, but I really went to see the two R&B acts and we weren’t given any notice or from what I recall an option to get a refund. Mind you, the venue itself – is a long drive out from the city for most people and in our case a good two hour drive for my parents to drop us off and pick us up.
This case study is not isolated or unique – R&B/hiphop/rap fans in Australia are frequently screwed around by concert event promoters. They promise us the world and rarely ever deliver. It’s an ongoing joke in the community when a multi-artist concert is advertised – ‘yeah let’s see how many actually show up’ because so many of fans have been burnt by non refundable tickets at no fault of our own, re-scheduled events that never eventuate or artist no shows.
I cannot say whether this problem is specific to the promotion of urban music gigs or whether other music genres suffer from the same issues.
Point three makes me furious – however I have no idea where to target my anger when this happens I need to know –
a) who sets the unrealistic ticket prices to start with?
b) who lowers them at the last minute?
When you see these drastically reduced ticket prices on sale – it punishes THE TRUE FANS/STANS. Why?
True fans/stans pay top dollar on pre-sale,VIP tickets, general admission tickets straight out the gate so they won’t miss out on seeing their beloved artist. People that buy the reduced last minute tickets are generally those that aren’t very big fans of the artist and weren’t willing to part with the initial asking price for the privilege. Then there are those that genuinely couldn’t afford it. More often than not though – I hear about these tickets being bought by the former type.
How does it punish the true fans though? It’s a slap in the face to the true fans/stans as they are paying a higher premium sometimes for the same seat that someone next to them is paying a quarter or even less of the price for – the only difference is the timing of the ticket purchase.
Those true fans/stans cannot get a refund for the price difference – they are expected to wear that cost. Where is the fairness in that?
So who really is to blame for all of these promotional bungles? The artist (and associated team) or the event promoters?
Who’s to blame?
There is a hell of a lot of finger pointing in the case of Supafest 2012 with Diddy and Missy Elliott’s camp offering different explanations:
Diddy has himself announced on Twitter that he is “MAD as F*ck” about his cancellation:
“I wanna come to Supafest but its not up to me. The promoters never sent the money for the show I love you guys! I’m MAD as F*ck I’m very upset that the promoters that contracted me to come never fufilled the damn contract! My bags are pack. I’m ready! Attention Australia!!!! My 1st ever Australian tour is going to be cancelled because the promoters did not fufill the contract! CRAZY!!! Australia if anyone knows the promoters call them or tweet them and ask them What the F*CK!!! Tell them yall want me to come! I’m ready!”
Missy Elliott’s manager Mona Scott-Young has released a statement:
“It has come to our attention that Missy Elliott was being falsely advertised for Supafest. The promoter began advertising without confirmation from our end or contracts as it pertains to Missy’s appearance. It is unfortunate when this happens as this dishonest behaviour hurts everyone involved. It not only damages the reputation of the artist, but most importantly it disappoints the fans who spend their hard earned money on tickets expecting to see the artist. On behalf of Missy Elliott and our entire team, we apologise to her fans for the false promotion and are taking measures to resolve this matter.”
In this case I tend to lean towards blaming Paperchase Entertainment. Refunds were offered for those who sought it.
Nonetheless, for the urban music fans in Australia – we’ve missed out on seeing two huge acts not to take away from the greatness of the other ten – I just really hoped that at Supafest 2012 our faith could have been restored in event promotions delivering on their word.
In the meantime – a round of applause for the below featured artists (and Big Sean, Naughty By Nature and Ludacris) for blessing us with their talented selves:
I am sure that at the end of tomorrow’s Supafest – I will be quoting the famous Ice Cube line – “Today was a good day.”