Clio Shed Aftermath

Fans aren’t too thrilled with the way ticket refunds are being handled following the recent closure of Michigan’s Clio Area Amphitheater.

Canceled dates in August and September at the 3,100-capacity venue included Travis Tritt, Ron White, Brian Wilson, Buddy Guy / Jonny Lang, Hoobastank, and Michael McDonald.

Ticketholders have returned to the city-run shed to find an empty box office and a sign announcing the cancellations. Some angry fans have picketed in front of the venue, according to The Flint Journal.

Agent Garry Buck said 2,700 tickets were pre-sold for the August 27th Buddy Guy / Jonny Lang co-bill.

“Those fans are left holding the bag and there’s nowhere to go,” Buck told Pollstar. “We’ve dealt with this venue for three years or more. There’s never any red flags when you’re dealing with a venue you’ve dealt with before like this.”

Clio spokeswoman Jessica Brown said she would have some answers shortly.

“We will have more information for people on [August 28th] as to what they can do about refunds,” Brown said, according to the Journal. “All operations have ceased and the theatre is closed, but all customers will get refunds.”

Ticketmaster, which reportedly accounted for 15 percent of sales, said it’s doing its part.

“Because Clio Amphitheater has refused to provide refunds to consumers, we have decided as a gesture of goodwill to take this step on our own,” Ticketmaster Detroit GM Bob Garsh said.

Ticketmaster has already forwarded ticket receipts to the venue and said it would begin to facilitate refunds August 26th with money from its own pocket.

Tritt manager Duke Cooper called the situation a shame.

“The economy’s tough already, and here’s folks that work for their dough and can’t get their money back,” he told Pollstar. “We’re not so concerned about being paid, that was never an issue. There were deposits.

“When the city gets involved in promoting, it always raises an eyebrow,” Cooper added. “Cities sometimes make the worst promoters possible.”

The amphitheatre, which blamed lagging ticket sales for its closure, owes nearly $300,000 to ticketholders, venue attorney Jeffrey Chimovitz told the Journal. Apparently, most sales were credit card transactions, which should make refunds a bit easier.

Concert-goers who paid cash will have to file a claim in bankruptcy court and they will be sixth on the list of payment priorities behind the venue’s employee payroll, legal fees and administrative costs, Chimovitz told the Journal.

Meanwhile, the lawyer said the amphitheatre could file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as early as August 26th. He reportedly added that the venue has less than $50,000 in assets after starting the season an estimated $250,000 in debt.

A week prior to the closure, Clio was seeking to renegotiate contracts with numerous performers to persuade them to take less money.

The shed was apparently struggling with competition from the surrounding Detroit and Mt. Pleasant areas.

Mitchell Peters