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Prince sued over cancellation of concert

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Prince sued over cancellation of concert

Post  Guest on Tue 23 Feb - 20:50

€1.7m sought over Prince concert cancellation
Tuesday, 23 February 2010 20:18
A High Court action against the pop star Prince for the cancellation of a concert in Dublin in 2008 has begun in Dublin.

Promoters MCD are suing the singer and his agents for €1.7m in compensation after he cancelled the Croke Park concert.

The court was told that the singer is claiming his agents, William Morris Endeavour Entertainment (WME), had no authority to enter into an agreement to perform at Croke Park in June 2008.

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However WME will say that Prince cancelled the concert and gave 'no reason of substance' for his decision.

Denis Desmond of MCD told the court that promoters never deal directly with artists and that William Morris was one of the two biggest agencies in the world.

In the 180 previous shows staged in association with WME, no artist had ever claimed it was not represented by the company.

Mr Desmond said the last minute cancellation of a concert by Prince was 'disgraceful' and appeared to have been done 'on a whim'.

The MCD boss said 'rumblings' about the concert being cancelled came very late and only arose because his production staff could not get any information from Prince's production staff.

He said there was no indication that the show would be cancelled before the 6 June 2008, but he said they knew something was up when three weeks before the show the required production information was not forthcoming.

He said promoters could take out cancellation insurance and dates could be rescheduled in the event of a performer being genuinely ill.

However in this case there was no reason given for the cancellation. Asked if he now knew why the concert was cancelled he said he did not know, it seemed to be on a whim.

He said there was damaging media speculation at the time that MCD had cancelled the concert due to poor ticket sales. This was not the case he said, adding that over 55,000 tickets had been sold.

Prince had also been told he could earn potentially a $500,000 extra for the show on the basis of ticket sales.

As the date drew closer and concerns arose, MCD also offered to provide lighting and production services and the artist was told he would simply have to arrive with his band.

Mr Desmond said the singer could have made a profit of $2m on the show.

During cross examination by counsel for William Morris Endeavour, he said he had dealt with William Morris on 180 previous shows and never had an artist claimed he had not been represented by the agents.

The Court heard that the agreement was made in February 2008 and over 55,000 tickets were sold for the gig.

MCD paid half of Prince's requested $3m fee to WME as agents and had paid €700,000 for the use of Croke Park.

Counsel for MCD Michael Collins told Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the court would have to decide who was liable to compensate MCD - the artist or his agent.

The Court heard details of a series of emails sent from Denis Desmond of MCD to Tony Goldring of William Morris in which Mr Desmond proposes the Dublin concert and in later emails presses him to confirm the availability of the pop star.

Michael Collins said a pattern emerged in the emails where Mr Goldring, who is a booking agent, is at first careful and cautious about committing but later confirms the dates and the terms.

He said it was clear from the email exchanges that Mr Goldring had not offered confirmation unilaterally but on the basis of a confirmation by the artist's personal assistant.

Concerns were raised by MCD production staff when they had heard 'nothing' as the concert date approached.

MCD was informed on 6 June that Prince wished to cancel the concert, which was due to take place on 16 June.

The court has begun hearing evidence from Keith Sarkisian about a series of emails and calls to Prince's personal assistant in which it is claimed the Dublin date was discussed.

WME will claim the singer later cancelled without giving any reason of substance. His evidence will continue tomorrow.

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