A row over the withdrawal of Travis from the BBC’s Top Of The Pops (TOTP) Live concert has put the spotlight on the prevailing animosity between free or nearly free live radio and TV gigs eating into the concert promoters’ market. The TOP producer has blamed the festivals for the band pulling out of this promo show. And festival promoters are saying that the BBC is abusing its position by not paying the going rate for live acts.

Travis was due to take part in the TV concert special at Sheffield Arena May 29, along with All Saints, Mel C, Ronan Keating, and Artful Dodger.

However, on May 5, the band announced it was pulling out of the show. The initial statement from the record company said the band was canceling the TOTP show because it objected to the £10 ticket price, claiming it had only agreed to do the show if it was a free event.

The statement said, “Travis agreed to participate in this event provided admission to the show was free of charge. We do not wish to undermine those fans who have purchased tickets in good faith to see Travis at the festivals this summer.”

Feathers were ruffled on all sides. BBC organisers were upset at the negative publicity and claimed the statement about Travis disagreeing with the ticket price was misleading.

Travis will play most of the major festivals in the U.K. this summer, when fans will be paying up to £89 for a weekend ticket.

Frantic PR negotiations ensued over the weekend, resulting in some of the truth being revealed. Finally, they confessed that the withdrawal was, in fact, due to “contractual obligations.”

What is at stake with this kind of promo event is the headliner exclusivity. Stuart Clumpas, promoter of T in the Park (one of the festivals Travis will be headlining) told Pollstar: “The BBC should stick to being a radio station. We pay these bands a lot of money because of their pulling potential. The BBC pays them nothing and there is the implication that if they take part, they will be supported by Radio 1. We pay a premium for exclusivity. If they want to broadcast live performances, then they can come to a regular show where the band is earning a regular income. There is no reason to create another event.”

Top Of The Pops series producer Chris Cowey was reported on the NME Web site as blaming Travis’ withdrawal on pressure from the “big festivals.” He said in a later statement, “It is regrettable that Travis can’t appear at the Top of the Pops Sheffield Show on May 29. It seems that contractual obligations have prevented their performing on the day.”

Discussions are under way to see if Travis will prerecord a performance for broadcast as part of the TOTP show.

Travis is also playing at Glastonbury June 23-25. Glastonbury booker Martin Elbourne was unhappy that TOTP was passing some of the blame onto the festival. He told Pollstar, “This is the first I’ve heard that a) the act was planning to play a radio station show and b) that they have pulled out. If I had known about it, I would have objected strongly and at the very least, would have expected sizeable contribution from the record company to one of the charities the festival supports.

“Unfortunately, record companies seem to put forward acts for these shows without even checking with their agents whether they are in potential breach of contract. Likewise the radio stations/TV shows should know in advance that an act in a prominent position at one of the big festivals is not going to be available without that event’s permission.

“For Top Of The Pops to effectively partly blame Glastonbury when we haven’t received any communication from them is at the very least rude and unprofessional. This is my personal view, not an official Glastonbury statement.”


The Stockholm Jazz and Blues Festival has had a makeover for the new millennium, designed to put it on the international jazz map. Now a member of the Northern Dimensions Festival Organisation (a new alliance of jazz festivals in northern Europe), the renamed Stockholm Jazz Festival 2000 is due to take place July 18-23 on the Skeppsholmen Island in the city.

Performers at the six-day event will include the Herbie Hancock Septet, Al Jarreau, McCoy Tyner Trio, Dr. John, Joe Lovano’s Tiro Fascination, Suzanne Vega, Kool & the Gang, the Jeff Healey Band, Randy Brecker, Mingus Big Band, and more names due to be confirmed.


The Toronto Jazz Festival, which almost had its plug pulled for financial reasons, has landed some top-notch talent for the 10-day event June 23 – July 2. Al DiMeola, John Scofield, Maceo Parker, Franz Jackson, and Diane Reeves have all been confirmed.

Several weeks ago, it was announced that the esteemed jazz festival was canceled when its main sponsor, du Maurier, cut its backing by 25 percent, due to new federal government regulations, but other corporations came forward to keep it afloat.