“This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make to date,” Rock District owner Brandon Cochran said regarding the unexpected cancellation of the Magic! concert slated for Friday, June 21, at the Island stage.
“This isn’t something we wanted to happen, but it’s just one of those things where we needed to see at least 1,000 people to make a strong push and we didn’t see the community support needed,” he said.
Cochran is heartbroken over the situation, he said, but he can’t wait to make it up to the people of Kelowna. That is if they show up.
The concert plug was pulled on the Toronto-bred, Los Angeles-based reggae-pop band Magic! after only 295 tickets were sold. From a business standpoint, Cochran and his team had to make the difficult decision to shut it down or lose more than $50,000 in show costs to entertain under 300 people.
The local company, which is Cochran’s passion, released a statement on Wednesday announcing the cancellation “due to unforeseen circumstances” and he said he has felt the heat from his patrons.
“Since we started to chat with our patrons, some are coming around and understanding our stance and are in support of us moving forward,” he said. “In terms of refunds, we are starting out with out of towners because they are hit with the biggest inconvenience.”
Ticketholders included travellers from Calgary, Edmonton, Nanaimo and Medicine Hat, he said. Travel plans were made, and some were already in transit, Cochran explained. In fact, 20 per cent of ticket sales were sold to people from out of town.
“We really thought we hit this one out of the park,” he said. “We picked one of the best Fridays of the year—summer solstice—and we were utilizing one of two of Kelowna’s best stage areas.”
After boosting marketing and advertising to try and spread the word of the Magic! concert. A street team was handing out handbills promoting the show on the water this past weekend, but Cochran only saw an additional 25 tickets move.
“I know Kelowna is a last minute city,” he said. “Everyone is waiting to see what the weather is doing, and it was a graduation weekend. But, to only see the numbers we did, we are baffled.
“It’s shocking, and I’m at a loss for words.”
The audio engineer said Kelowna’s music scene is suffering from a lack of variety in show types, venue spaces and promoters, and it’s important to support the music scene and the small businesses to establish that strong musical culture.
Coming off the success of Rock District’s 2018 Bahamas show, Cochran said he doesn’t understand where things went wrong.
“It’s a very challenging business, and we thought we had it this time, and Kelowna proved otherwise,” he said.
Ticketholders can get a refund through the service provider or can hang on to the ticket to be honoured at any Rock District shows.
“We want to make it up to the patrons, and we’re definitely going to make sure the tickets we have to honour, we’re going to provide a VIP experience,” Cochran said. “It’s going to be above and beyond the initial payment they made for the concert ticket.”
“We definitely don’t want to upset the people that support us,” he said. “We will make a memorable show.”