12 July 2017

The Battle of Red Bank

Back at 30,000 feet in the pointy end of a Dreamliner 787 – full reclining bed and Mahler’s 2nd symphony in my headphones. The travails of Red Bank seem a world away, and I am sorely tempted not to revisit them – except that fans, including those sending me emails, need answers. At its heart a simple tale: when we arrived at the venue and were handed the tickets we had reserved in January for the King Crimson Royal Package attendees (50 tickets, centre section, rows 1-5), those were not the seats we were given. It was a fairly random selection somewhere in the first seven or eight rows. This was all the more frustrating as we had pointed out the same error over three weeks ago, and the promoter had promised to resolve it.
Come the day of the concert and not a finger had apparently been lifted.
The promoter’s assistant was seeking to absolve himself of all blame, while we were very clear that we could not accept the wrong seats as the integrity of the band and DGM was on the line : a perfect example of seeking to “operate in the marketplace, while being free of the values of the marketplace” (the very speech that I gave at the Royal Package a bit later).
The promoter’s assistant continued to block matters by unhelpfully and slightly absurdly claiming that they had “sold all the tickets in the first five minutes before we knew about the reservation” – despite emails from our agent showing that they had known months before.
And then magically, he started to phone up some of the purchasers of the front seats (I don’t know why he would have had their numbers), and correct seats became available.
I would not have made any of this public, except that I have subsequently learnt from one person who was moved that they were told that they were being forced to swap seats “as the band wanted to give them to their special people” – unacceptably and wrongly blaming the situation on the band. I also suspect those tickets were bought “at a premium” and that our tickets had effectively been scalped.
This business of music could be so much easier…
If there is a positive, it makes the continuing of the Royal Package all the more important. The Royal Package not only helps to provide essential funds to keep the “eight-headed beast” of Crimson on the road, gives the attendees an enhanced experience, but also means that those premium seats do not fall into the hands of scalpers.
Royal Package tickets for the Fall tour should go on sale late tomorrow. General tickets will follow about a week later – after we have approved the exact seating plan – so that we will have no further such surprises.