Chris Stapleton cancels Scranton concert as other Montage Mountain shows remain up in the air
Like all 2020 concerts, the few shows left scheduled at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton still seem to be up in the air just one month before the season is set to open.
Today, Nashville country singer Chris Stapleton postponed and rescheduled his upcoming All-American Road Show, though his planned stop at Montage Mountain has been canceled with no new date.
The Grammy Award winner was set to perform at the local outdoor venue on July 30 with Elle King and Kendell Marvel. Refunds are now available at the point of purchase.
“We’ve made this decision with the health and safety of our fans, touring family, and the communities we travel through as our No. 1 priority,” Chris and his wife Morgane Stapleton said on social media.
“We appreciate your patience and understanding as we all navigate these unusual times. We miss seeing your faces in the crowd, hearing your voices, and sharing the moments that we can only have when we come together in music. We hope to see you next year. Until then, we wish you all good health and safety. Stay strong and God bless.”
Last week, Montage Mountain’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.
This news has left many local music fans wondering if the entire summer lineup at Montage Mountain will be canceled as well. As of today, tickets remain on sale at livenation.com for four previously announced concerts – Kidz Bop Live on June 17, Breaking Benjamin and Bush on July 18, 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. UPDATE ON MAY 20: Breaking Benjamin has canceled their show and entire tour as well.
When reached for comment, venue operator Live Nation did not have any more information on these shows, and all of 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.
Photo by Scott Kucharski Photography/NEPA Scene