Vujin’s Talking Balls

Embattled promoter Dragan Vujin won the confidence of Jose Carreras manager Rosi Pritz by convincing her that he looks after top tennis player Jelena Jankovic and is big mates with Serbian Vice President Bozidar Delic, Pritz said.

"He seemed very well-connected and so I wasn’t so concerned," she told Pollstar, explaining why she hadn’t collected any deposit money for Carreras when the world famous tenor’s Belgrade show was canceled at five days’ notice.

When Pritz, who is head of Kupferkultur management company and has worked with Carreras for 20 years, couldn’t contact Vujin after the cancellation, she assumed it was because he was with Jankovic at a tennis tournament in Stuttgart.

Refunds for the October 2 show in the city’s arena were due to begin on October 15, according to Ticketline event administrator Nevena Gojkojvic, by which time Vujin was expected to have returned the money advanced to him.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get Gojkojvic to confirm that the refunds have started.

Vujin said the cancellation was due to problems getting equipment in from Hamburg, although Belgrade Arena chief George Milutinovic – a promoter with decades of experience – said there would have been plenty of time to do it if all the paperwork was in order.

Reports from Serbia suggest that only 2,500 of the 18,000 seats had been sold.

Claiming he manages Jankovic, who reached the semi-finals of this year’s French Open and the last eight of the Australian Open, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, isn’t the first time Vujin has dropped names to impress.

In the summer he managed to get Artie Kornfeld to become associated with his Roadfest – a sort of Serbian Woodstock – until the co-founder of the original American Woodstock began to worry that he was being taken for a ride.

Vujin had set up a Web site claiming that he’d booked acts that he hadn’t contacted and, along with using Kornfeld’s name, hoped it would be enough to persuade sponsors to part with their money.

After the acts got wise to the fact they were being advertised for a festival they hadn’t heard of, Kornfeld pulled out and the phantom two-day open-air on a river island site at Zrenjanin was no more.

Vujin blamed "lack of support from the municipality of Zrenjanin and the government of Serbia."