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Nazareth promoters on the hook for ticket refunds

Roger Carruthers and Scott Newland posed for this a picture last summer to promote the Nazareth concert that was cancelled due to lack of ticket sales. Ticket buyers are still waiting for their refund. - File photo
Roger Carruthers and Scott Newland posed for this a picture last summer to promote the Nazareth concert that was cancelled due to lack of ticket sales. Ticket buyers are still waiting for their refund.
— image credit: File photo

One of the concert promoters who tried to bring Scottish rock band Nazareth to Nelson last summer says he plans to refund cancelled ticket out of pocket.

Bill Stack, co-owner of Revolution Audio in Nelson, helped Roger Carruthers of Rockopolus organize the July 10 concert at the Nelson and District Community Complex. Stack says he will put out about $5,000 of his own money to cover half the cost of refunds for the 400-plus people who bought tickets to the show, and hopes Carruthers will cover the other half.

Stack said he's given up on the idea of pursuing legal action to get the back the $9,500 deposit they paid to Nazareth and their opening act, Headpins.

"I thought we'd be successful in court because the contract doesn't say the deposit isn't refundable. I discussed the options with lawyers, but decided not to go that route," Stack said. "Legal action would be too time consuming and ultimately could end up costing us more."

Bernie Aubin, president of Vancouver-based Canadian Classic Rock concert booking agency and drummer for Headpins, said he could have asked the promoters to pay the bands in full because they cancelled just six days before the event. At this point, he's satisfied to just keep the deposit, but if they take him to court, he's threatening to ask for the full amount, plus damages.

"If they keep pushing the envelope, I have a musical lawyer that will crucify them, very simply," Aubin said. "They've been telling people it's the bands' fault they didn't get their money back — that's not true, and I could sue them for defamation of character for that, on top of making them pay all the money they owe."

But Aubin hopes it won't come to that. Working in the music industry, he knows ticket sales don't always go the way you expect them to. He said if the promoters would have told him sooner that they were thinking of canceling the show, he could have worked something out.

"I could have tried to work out a better deal for them, if I'd known they were having a problem with ticket sales," he said. "When you tell me six days out you're canceling the show, there's nothing I can do."

Stack said it would have cost the pair about $25,000 to put on the show, and they'd only generated about $10,000 from ticket sales.

"We would have been in even deeper debt if we'd decided to go ahead with the show," Stack said.

As for when ticket holder can expect their refunds, Stack said he'll pay people as money becomes available to him. He hopes to use profits from shows he promotes in the future to pay back the Nazareth ticket holders.

Carruthers has tried to do the same, but the two concerts he's promoted since Nazareth — a Pink Floyd cover band and a Led Zeppelin cover band — were both cancelled.

Carruthers has not returned phone calls or emails from the Star. Stack said Carruthers is out of town.

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