Management and promoters of Mariah Carey’s Oct. 28 gig in Hong Kong are blaming each other after the pop singer’s show was canceled on Thursday (Oct. 26).
The event’s promoters, Hong Kong-based One Events, say the tour-concluding Oct. 28 show was pulled due to poor ticket sales and blamed Carey’s management, Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment, for making “unreasonable last-minute demands.”
Handprint co-owner Benny Medina claims to have pulled the plug after One Events allegedly defaulted on an advance. Medina says Handprint’s contract with One Events stipulated that a percentage of production and star fees be paid in advance to guarantee the booking.
“Judging by the business model of this company and the way it does business — bearing in mind this money was still outstanding two days before the show — we felt the possibility of getting those fees was remote,” Medina tells Billboard.biz.
“So we felt we had no alternative but to cancel the show,” Medina adds.
A statement from One Events laid the blame for the cancellation on poor ticket sales and Handprint.
“As promoters of the Mariah Carey Hong Kong concert we have decided to cancel the event effective immediately due to both the poor response of public ticket sales (approximately 4,000 normal tickets only despite a substantial advertising campaign, although a good response from corporate ticketing), and also due to specific last-minute demands which we find wholly unreasonable and not with the best interests of Hong Kong, us and also the fans,” it says. .
Medina wouldn’t comment on how many tickets had been sold. Local newspapers were still running ads for tickets right up to Thursday morning.
Carey was to have played at the Tamar Site, a former naval base in the heart of downtown Hong Kong that occasionally hosts temporary stages for large-scale outdoor shows. With a capacity of 20,000, the venue has hosted such acts as the Rolling Stones.
Production crews had already begun building the stage when the cancellation was announced here by Carey’s local label, Universal Music South East Asia.
The pull-out follows the big-name cancellation of British singer Robbie Williams’ sold-out Nov. 10 gig at the Convention and Exhibition Centre due to the artist’s poor health.
While organizers of that show have offered full ticket refunds, promoters of the Carey show say they will reveal refund details at a later date.
Medina says One Events still owes him money.
“The moneys owed were a combination of artists’ fees and production fees,” he says. “This was after we let the promoter know …that we would give him more and more time to pay. But he missed the deadline each time.”
In a statement released Oct. 26 by Universal Music South East Asia regional headquarters in Hong Kong, UMG International apologized to Carey’s fans, blaming the cancellation on “unfulfilled contractual obligations by concert organizers.”
“She deeply regrets the disappointment caused to them due to unforeseen circumstances beyond her control,” the statement says. “For Mariah, this is particularly unfortunate given her recent sold-out, critically acclaimed tours of the United States and Japan.”