Down And Out In Salem

A first-time promoter in Winston-Salem, N.C., apparently made the common freshman mistake of relying on door sales to cover artist guarantees – resulting in canceled performances by headliner De La Soul and Ghostface Killah.

Dan Ehrlich told the Winston-Salem Journal he lost between $15,000 and $20,000 on the show, adding that he relied on walk-up revenue for his bottom line. The November 11th concert at The Millennium Center originally included De La Soul, but the group backed out because Ehrlich could not meet the guarantee, according to venue owner Greg Carlyle.

“He did everything he was supposed to do as far as we were concerned,” Carlyle told Pollstar. “He paid all of his bills with this facility. He advertised the show as well as I’ve seen any promoter advertise. In fact, I’ve never seen anybody get so much free publicity.”

Ehrlich also brought in a top-notch production company from the area called Phat Ked, the venue owner said. As it turns out, Ehrlich is part-owner of the company. Its Web site,, still had the advertising for the “MoonbreakeR” show up at press time.

“The biggest event the Triad has seen this century!” the announcement said. “It’s the first time an event like this has ever taken place in the Triad! Don’t miss your chance to experience the feeling you get in the world’s best party destinations right here at home!”

The promoter posted notices around the venue that De La Soul would not be performing. He also reduced ticket prices accordingly, Carlyle said. But Ehrlich needed a good draw to make things go as planned and presales were below 200, he added.

Ghostface Killah asked for money up-front that evening but received partial payment. The replacement performers and DJs went on as scheduled, but Ghostface canceled his 1 a.m. appearance, resulting in disgruntled concert-goers.

“I don’t know where [Ehrlich is],” Carlyle said. “I understand from people who know him that he’s in a terrible depression, that he’s unavailable.”

The venue owner said Ghostface Killah and his manager were “complete gentlemen” considering the circumstances, and Ehrlich kept his composure throughout.

“We’re going to have some serious scrutiny on promoters in the future,” Carlyle said. “I don’t know what that means yet but I’ll tell you this: I will find out what that means.”

Joe Reinartz