Saturday, 15 February 2014

Heavy Metal Solidarity

That was the only message that Australian fans received that a band they'd paid to see wouldn't be turning up. No apology, no other explanation.

Megadeth fans watched the drama unfold as the band pulled out of the Soundwaves/Sidelines tour in Australia due to a spat with a promoter.

Let me reiterate:


I don't often swear on this blog but what the fuck?! Can you imagine if we told our bosses we weren't turning up to work because we didn't like them and we weren't coming in until they apologised for who they were or what they'd said?! We'd get fired!

The band demanded an apology from the promoter and received one. However, the pleas of the fans fell on deaf ears and the band have continued with their tour, including a date in New Zealand (in the last few days, Megadeth have also rescheduled an Indonesian date, leading to speculation about the rest of their 2014 dates).

So why is everyone pissed about this? Let's go through it:

  • Australian fans see Megadeth once every 3 or 4 years, while the US and Europe will see them at least once a year.
  • The Australian fans get none, or very few, of the extras that US and European fans get (meet and greets, signings, clinics, fan club extras etc).
  • Only one portion of their $150+ tickets is refundable (the Sidewaves tickets. From what I can gather, Soundwave tickets are non-refundable unless a headliner cancels.).
  • Many are travelling distances which a lot of us would shun. This also means that they've paid out for travel, as well as accommodation which may or may not be refundable depending on the hotel/airline.
  • No formal apology or explanation, bar the brief Twitter and Facebook messages, has been issued leaving fans feeling like unwanted children.

People have said “Oh, it's a festival. There are other bands to go and see.”. Let me try and put this into perspective. Here in the UK, we see Metallica once every couple of years. They play a single festival date (normally Download or Knebworth if there's something happening there) and that's it. There's no other stadium dates, no other venues. One date and they're gone again. So we do what good fans do and we'll buy a ticket to see them, and only them, play because it's the only chance we get (unless you can get time off work during the busy school holiday period to go trotting around Europe). If Metallica pulled out of this single UK date there would, understandably, be uproar. If they gave the same piss poor “explanation” that Megadeth have given then there would probably be anarchy. Admittedly, because they're a headliner, we'd probably get a refund on those tickets, but you can see where I'm coming from. If a band you really want to see is ONLY playing festival dates, then you go to those to see them. You don't have any other choice. And if that band then pulls out, you have every reason to be mad because you can't just pop down to the local music venue to see them play and will probably be waiting another 3 or 4 years before they return (of they do).

I've worked with shitty promoters. I've wanted to pull out of events I've been working on because I've been treated like shit. But you know what? I go and do what I have to do because there's people there who want to have some fun and who'll be really fucking happy to see you. And that's what I live on. I live for the the hugs and the smiles and being able to make people laugh. It brings me massive amounts of joy to have someone come up to me and offer me a hug because they've really enjoyed something I've done. There is nothing better in this world. But obviously this band can't see that. They don't see the messages from people whose last chance to see them play was this festival. They don't see the minimum wage workers who've scrimped and saved to go to this concert only to have their hard work thrown back at them. They don't see the people who've rearranged their entire lives to go. They don't see the people who've had to beg for time off work in a tough economic climate. They don't see the people who are battling through illnesses and had decided on this show to help them deal with what they were going through. All they can see is some promoter who may or may not (depending on who you believe) said something which they didn't like.

I'm siding with the Australian fans on this one. I'd be pissed off and angry as well. And, on their behalf, I am. I'm a minimum wage worker who's glad to have a job in these tough times. Concerts are one of the ways I relieve some of the pressure and to have years of loyalty and love thrown back in your face because of something so stupid is downright offensive. And if Megadeth's current behaviour continues, then the show I'm going to see in April will be the last one. There'll be no more merchandise, no more albums, and no more concert tickets. I can think of bands far more worthy of my money than one who doesn't have an ounce of respect for their fans (and before anyone starts, yes, I know this may be “typical Mustaine behaviour” but it's still piss poor and uncalled for).

While I'm hoping these “Unforeseen circumstances” aren't something bad, I'm also hoping for an explanation for everyone down under who's been left out of pocket and feeling left down. Keep the faith, Australian metal fans, and may all your love and loyalty be rewarded.

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