Accident, illness and a last minute schedule change are among the reasons major performers have given for cancelling recent shows in Edmonton.
But could it be that some of those big acts just didn’t want to bother with the trip?
“I think [the location] does have an impact,” local music manager and consultant Brent Oliver told CBC’s Edmonton AM on Tuesday.
But he said mainly it’s the fact that there are a limited number of promoters in the city.
“For 90 per cent of shows, it’s ticket sales,” Oliver said.
There’s no motivation for promoters to put on a concert that doesn’t sell enough tickets, because with so little competition fans don’t have many other options for who to buy tickets from for stadium concerts.
“They look at it as a business,” he said. “They just say, ‘We’re not going to make enough money, let’s not do the show and refund everybody their money.
“At the end of the day, it’s just a dollar and cents thing.”
The Who, Fleetwood Mac and Morrissey have all cancelled recent concerts in the city.
This month, the Ticketmaster website showed The Who had cancelled the band’s Oct. 23 date in Edmonton for their ironically named Moving On! Tour.
No explanation was provided on either the Live Nation or Rogers Place websites.
The Who was initially scheduled to wrap up their tour in Edmonton, now a new date has been set for Oct. 24 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
The fact that The Who scheduled two more California dates immediately after cancelling in Edmonton suggests it was a financial decision, Oliver said.
Fleetwood Mac is scheduled to perform at Rogers Place in November, but that date comes a year after they were originally set to perform at the venue.
The band cancelled 90 minutes before they were set to take the stage for a concert in November 2018 because a member was sick.
The group then cancelled the rescheduled concert in April, along with several Canadian dates, saying singer Stevie Nicks had the flu.
Morrissey cancelled the kickoff to his Canadian tour in April, citing an accident.
He is rescheduled for a show in Edmonton in October.
Oliver said the artist who was embarking on a comeback tour has earned a reputation for being unreliable.
“Morrissey has a history,” he said. “Something like 60 per cent of his shows in the last 10 years he has cancelled or rescheduled. It’s crazy.”
That can backfire with fans and promoters.
“In my experience as a promoter, I have tried to bring in legendary dub musician Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and he’s cancelled both times,” he said.
“People start to get a little gun shy about buying tickets in advance because they have to then go through the whole rigmarole of getting refunds.”
Venues are the ones most likely to pay the main financial price, he said, with deposit fees and an empty night that they could be difficult fill with another event.
“Rogers Place is now out a show,” he said about The Who cancellation.
“Especially in October, when we get to hockey season with Oilers and the Oil Kings, and it’s a pretty jammed schedule and those dates are pretty tough to come by. So Rogers is likely out some income.”