Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2001

Performers ax European tours

October 27, 2001


— First it was Janet Jackson. Then Destiny's Child. Now the Dave Matthews Band has joined a chorus of American pop acts who have canceled or postponed overseas tours since last month's terrorist attacks.

"I think that there is probably a sense from an American standpoint that they might be more of a target," said Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar, which tracks the concert industry.

The cancelations likely will cause a 10 percent drop in overall concert grosses for the year, said Kelly Barbieri of Amusement Business, which also monitors the concert business.

It's another setback to the industry, which already was experiencing an off year before Sept. 11.

"The economy is down, ticket prices are up," said Barbieri. "Ticket grosses were OK for the third quarter, but attendance was down."

Jackson canceled her European tour two weeks after the World Trade Center and Pentagon assaults, citing concern for her fans.

"Like most people, the events of Sept. 11 have troubled me enormously and I remain concerned about the foreseeable future," she said in at the time.

Since then, Weezer has canceled its European tour; Destiny's Child has pushed back its fall European tour until May; Slipknot postponed its "Pledge of Allegiance" European tour until sometime in 2002; and this week, Dave Matthews Band canceled its tour of Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom, citing the attacks and the need to stay close to family. Several other tours have been delayed or canceled as well.

Arista Records President Antonio Reid told The Associated Press shortly after the attacks that he expected overseas events to be canceled "because artists are skittish about flying right now."

'N Sync had no overseas concerts planned, but even member Lance Bass acknowledged he was reluctant to travel.

"Yeah, I'm a little hesitant going to other countries," said Bass. "Going to a whole different place, you don't know how it's run."

Dave Zedeck, co-founder and partner of the Evolution Agency, a music agency which represents clients such as Britney Spears and 'N Sync, said performers are definitely worried.

"I think it's twofold the concern of what happens there, and secondly, what happens if they're there and something happens here," he said.

Barbeiri said she couldn't recall a time when so many acts have canceled European dates, even during the Gulf War.

Another concern for tour promoters is lackluster business in the United States. While no figures were available, Bongiovanni said the industry has suffered since Sept. 11.

"There really aren't any promoters crowing about how great business is right now," he said. "I really tend to think that it has a lot more to do with uncertainty over the economy rather than fear of going to a large gatherings."

The only exception to the international and domestic downtown is U2. The group has sold out its fall tour dates.

At this point it's unclear when the concert industry will begin to rebound.

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