Back To the Future?

Croatian promoter Zoran Maric is worried the country’s summer calendar is so crowded that it will cause the market to implode the way it did in 2004.

He told Pollstar there are so many shows in June and July, where his InMusic Festival would have been scheduled, that he’s moving it to the end of August.

The international acts playing Croatia this summer include Gipsy Kings in May, Leningrad Cowboys, INXS, Zucchero, Dream Theatre, Bebel Gilberto, ZZ Top, The Cult, and Ill Nino in June, and July shows from Type O Negative, Korn, Robert Plant, and Air.

There’s also a Norah Jones show reportedly happening in Pula on August 10th.

There might even have been a Rolling Stones concert in the middle of it if not for Zagreb’s Koncertna Direkcija (KDZ) putting in a late bid and some animosity between KDZ, the city’s state-funded promoter, and local promoter Marijan Crnaric and Austrian promoter Rock & More.

"What amazes me so much is that it’s mainly the same promoters overplaying the market as it was in 2004," Maric explained, citing Live Nation and Austrian promoters Richard Hoermann and Wolfgang Klinger (Rock & More) as the culprits.

Three years ago, Zagreb shows for Lenny Kravitz, Pink and Metallica were canceled – and Santana was moved to a smaller venue – within a month.

Various reasons were given for the cancellations but two of the three shows originally slotted for the 25,000-seat Gradski Stadium were downgraded because of poor ticket sales.

When the dates were pulled, all within a month of the day they were due to happen, Hoermann’s Kravitz show at the 9,000-capacity Dom Sportova had moved about 5,000 tickets and his Metallica show at Gradski had barely moved 10,000.

Metallica was originally advertised to play Zagreb’s 50,000-capacity Lucko Airfield.

Klinger’s Pink show was also downsized from Gradski to Dom Sportova but the punters looked to have already lost faith in the market. Tickets trickled out of the door before the whole thing was scrapped with only a couple hundred sold.

Live Nation’s only Zagreb show was Santana and that survived, although the band played to a barely half-full Dom Sportova.

Four Croatian shows with an original combined capacity of 100,000 sold 20,000 tickets between them.

The situation was made worse when Crnaric, who was local promoter for both Hoermann and Klinger, failed to refund fans for the canceled Metallica show, which caused ticket outlets to call in the police as angry fans confronted box office staff.

Maric said the market has spent three years recovering from the summer of 2004 and other setbacks, including Crnaric’s failure to refund fans for an unconfirmed Stones show a year earlier.

However, he still doubts it can sustain what’s in this summer’s diary and the launch of the new Radar Festival (June 20) promoted by Harry Jenner of MusicNet, the third Austrian to try his hand in Croatia.

He’s already had meetings with Jenner and the two have agreed to do their best to organise their festivals without getting in each other’s way.

InMusic, which began last year and pulled crowds of around 15,000 per day to see bills headed by Morrissey and Franz Ferdinand, will move to August 27-28.

Maric hopes some of the acts that round off their summer tours at the U.K.’s Reading-Leeds Carling Weekend (August 24-26) may be persuaded to stay on the road for another show.

The first acts were expected to be announced at a May 17th press conference at Zagreb’s Aquarius Club.