Promoter Leaves Dubai

Rather than being jailed, it now appears that South African promoter Duncan Heafield of Kusasa took several days to get out of Dubai after his March 5th Celine Dion show because he had to settle his debts before he could leave the country.

Heafield vehemently denies he was "jailed," as was briefly reported in a story that ran over the March 7-9 weekend on PollstarPro. Although he was not jailed, local suppliers confirmed to Pollstar that Heafield was detained in Dubai by having his passport taken until the show costs had been paid or the debtors satisfied.

Local concert security company Transguard actually quit work at the Al Badia site on show day because it hadn’t received money due. That reportedly delayed the opening of the doors until an alternative security supplier was found.

Heafield told The Times of South Africa by telephone that stories of his alleged arrest in Dubai were malicious propaganda and had no substance. The promoter said he was calling from his office in Johannesburg but a subsequent phone call to the Kusasa office by the newspaper ended when his staff stated that Heafield was still in Dubai.

Heafield claims he is being smeared by competing promoters in South Africa who are anxious to make him look bad to the concert industry. Promoter Hazel Feldman of Shoglo, who had originally been a partner with Kusasa in the Celine Dion dates, initiated urgent legal proceedings against Heafield and his companies to recover 10.9 million Rand (US$1.38 million).

According to reports in The Citizen, Feldman got her Pretoria High Court judgment and was paid her money but not before making what Heafield claimed were "totally defamatory" statements. Heafield said he intended to sue for defamation and breach of contract.

Feldman reacted by telling the paper she was angry about such an allegation and that "[Heafield] cannot possibly have any case against me."

Heafield’s now back in South Africa, where fan complaints about Celine Dion’s recent nine-date run and his various behind-the-scenes legal wrangles have apparently led to Kusasa losing the Josh Groban tour of South Africa that was due to start March 16th. The official reason given for canceling the dates was because Heafield needed more time to resolve a few "logistical and operational issues," according to The Times.

Groban apologized to his South African fans and manager Brian Avnet said a decision was made to reschedule the dates to ensure Groban’s fans have the best possible live experience.

"Tour promoter Duncan Heafield of Kusasa failed to perform his obligations with regard to the tour, the tour dates have been pushed back," Avnet said in a statement.

Avnet would not comment on who would promote the rescheduled Groban dates but there is talk that the shows may well go to Attie van Wyk of Big Concerts.