Take The Dinars And Run

Any promoter doing a runner with the box office cash is hardly likely to consider going to Saudi Arabia, but that’s where Ayman Al Hamad was headed when he was stopped by border police.

The chief of Bahrain-based Prime Time Entertainment allegedly skipped off with the cash when a riot broke out among 2,000 fans at a July 11 show he was promoting for DJ Tiesto.

The stadium-filling Dutch dance star hadn’t gone on stage at the Marina Club in Manama, Bahrain, because he allegedly hadn’t been paid any of the advance money detailed in the signed contract.

A couple of Gulf-based papers have since reported Al Hamad saying the problem was caused because the DJ wouldn’t take the balance of his fees in local currency dinars. But Maurice Verscheuren, Tiesto’s manager, told Pollstar he’d have "happily taken it in roubles."

He denies Al Hamad’s newspaper claim that he’d already handed over two payments totaling the equivalent of US$50,000 and that it was only the balance in question.

"It’s not true. He hasn’t paid anything. It only went so far because we knew he’d sold a lot of tickets and that was a lot of fans to disappoint.

"He hadn’t done other things like arrange internal transport. By the time we’d sorted out getting to the show, the riot had already started and so it was already too late to go."

Local paper reports say that fans, including some who’d been in the club for as long as five hours, began hurling bottles and empty cans at organizers after news of Tiesto’s non-appearance spread through the crowd.

One alcohol bottle was said to have caught fire after being hurled toward the stage, a witness told Deutsche Presse-Agentur news service.

Other clubbers stormed the stage before police intervened to disperse them.

Several people were slightly injured during the rampage, which also caused a multi-car collision between fleeing fans. Local authorities sealed-off the concert venue and blocked nearby roads.

The police questioned the club owners, the remaining show staff and the artist’s tour management before arranging to have Al Hamad headed off at the border.