Breaking Benjamin cancels summer tour with Bush, including Scranton stop at Montage Mountain
Today, Wilkes-Barre rock band Breaking Benjamin canceled their entire U.S. summer tour with fellow multi-platinum-selling rockers Bush, including the planned hometown stop at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Saturday, July 18.
The band posted the following message on their website and social media:
If you purchased a ticket or VIP, you will be emailed directly with refund options, including a full refund, or you can request a 150 percent credit at Live Nation venues and they will donate the number of tickets you originally purchased to healthcare workers on the front lines. For more details, visit livenation.com/refund.
Thank you for understanding, and keep an eye out for touring updates in 2021. We will be back as soon as it’s safe to do so! – Breaking Benjamin
The local group was set to tour in support of their latest release, “Aurora,” which contains reimagined versions of some of the band’s most popular songs, including “Dear Agony” as well as No. 1 rock radio hits “So Cold” and “Red Cold River.” “Aurora” also features several special guests, including Lacey Sturm (ex-Flyleaf), Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath), and Scooter Ward (Cold), who joins vocalist Benjamin Burnley on the single “Far Away,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart, the band’s seventh No. 1 and Ward’s first.
During Breaking Benjamin’s previous concert at Montage Mountain last August, Cold (which now includes members from Northeastern Pennsylvania, Nick Coyle and Jon Nova) joined them on stage to perform the Cold hit “Just Got Wicked” as a last-minute surprise.
“While we were rehearsing in Benton, my old friend Ben Burnley asked if we would come up and play ‘Just Got Wicked’ at Breaking Benjamin’s hometown show at Montage. I hit him up just to ask for tickets since we were all in town and he hit me back on the day of the show and said, ‘Do you guys wanna come up and play a song tonight?’ We were like… shit. Hell yes!” Coyle told NEPA Scene in a March interview.
“Doing that led to him asking Scooter to sing on a song he had for his new record, ‘Far Away.’ We tracked Scooter’s vocals at the house we were rehearsing at. The song and video came out a few months ago and it’s doing great at radio. It’s like No. 2 or 3 in the country right now!”
Two days ago, Nashville country singer Chris Stapleton also canceled his concert at Montage Mountain and rescheduled his tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the venue’s biggest annual events, the Peach Music Festival and Camp Bisco, were canceled and rescheduled for the same weekends next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next Peach Fest will now be held on July 1-4, 2021 with the same headliners – the long-awaited reunion of Oysterhead (Trey Anastasio of Phish, Les Claypool of Primus, and Stewart Copeland of The Police), Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, and The String Cheese Incident – signed on to return. The Disco Biscuits’ Camp Bisco will be back on July 8-10, 2021.
As of now, tickets remain on sale at livenation.com for only three previously announced concerts – Kidz Bop Live on June 17, Korn and Faith No More on Aug. 27, and the Big Rock Summer Tour with Ratt, Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Skid Row, and Slaughter on Aug. 29.
When reached for comment last week, venue operator Live Nation did not have any more information on these shows, and these national tours are currently scheduled to make many of their stops this summer, with a few early summer dates in other areas postponed.
“Thanks for reaching out, appreciate your interest. As things continue to evolve, we’re monitoring closely. We don’t have any specific details to share just yet, but let’s stay in touch as plans develop,” Live Nation told NEPA Scene in an email.
“In the meantime, if fans have any questions about the status of their Live Nation event, they can check livenation.com/eventstatus at any time for the most up to date information.”
In a first quarter teleconference on May 7, Live Nation Entertainment President and CEO Michael Rapino said the company was “on track for tremendous growth across all our businesses with both fan demand and artist touring increasing on a global basis” this year, but in March, everything came to a halt as stay-at-home orders went into effect to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We recognize the experience at our venues will change when concerts start back up, and we are working with medical experts and public health officials on procedures to keep people safe while enjoying our shows,” he said.
“When we asked over 8,000 fans across North America about their requirements for returning to shows, they had two clear priorities – with 85 percent of fans stating they want increased cleaning and sanitizing of the venues and ready access to hand sanitizing stations, while no other actions received more than 40 percent support. In addition, we expect to have additional safety protocols in place, potentially including reduced capacity, touchless concessions, and creative ways to apply our digital ticketing technology.”
Rapino noted that that the company is working with federal and state governments on reopening phases and will let “facts and science” dictate when concerts should be held again, offering “Live From Home” streaming shows in the meantime.
“We know from fans that demand will be there when the shows return. Globally, over 90 percent of fans are holding on to their tickets for rescheduled shows where refunds are available, which is the clearest demonstration of pent-up demand that will enable us to quickly start concerts back up,” he continued.
“Reinforcing this, in a global survey of 10,000 live musicgoers, over 90 percent indicate they will be back to concerts once possible to do so. Looking further out, given that 80 percent of shows have been rescheduled rather than canceled, and as we noted almost all fans are holding on to their tickets, we believe 2021 can return to show volume and fan attendance at levels consistent with what we’ve seen in recent years.”
This follows backlash Live Nation received last month after fans reported trouble receiving refunds for shows marked as “postponed” rather than canceled after some fine print on its website was allegedly edited. On April 16, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell and Katie Porter wrote a letter to Live Nation and Ticketmaster criticizing their handling of the situation and urging them to help their customers in their time of need.
“A New York Times report found that this same Ticketmaster webpage used to read that refunds ‘are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled, or canceled’ and was quietly changed. In response, Ticketmaster has asserted that the change was made for ‘clarity,’ and your company then deflected responsibility to event organizers,” the letter said.
“Your claim that Ticketmaster’s refund policy was not changed but clarified is so absurd it insults the intelligence of your customers. Furthermore, given your enormous power over the marketplace, your company’s assertions that this inability to obtain a full refund for postponed events shows rings hollower than a drum. In effect, your company is holding hostage money that could constitute a rent check, electric bill, or groceries to feed children.
“There is no question that this crisis is badly hurting members of the live events community, from promising artists to striving promoters, small venue owners, set designers, concessionaires, and others. But given your market power, your responsibility to customers is broad.”
Ticketmaster President Jared Smith issued a response on April 17.
“Neither our clients, nor Ticketmaster, intend to withhold refunds on postponed shows. In fact, as of today, both Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Live, two of our largest event organizers, have announced they will begin to provide refunds, on a rolling basis, for all events impacted by COVID-19,” he said.
“The industry has come together to navigate this unprecedented time. We know fans are eager to return to live events, and collectively share in experiences with their favorite artists, athletes, and actors. We need time to manage through so we are all in a position for that to become a reality, and we look forward to the day when we can come together again.”
Fans who are seeking refunds for previously purchased tickets to any Live Nation show can visit livenationentertainment.com/ticketrefund for more information.