Groban Fans Chase Refunds

Josh Groban’s new DVD has a track called "You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)," but thousands of his fans must be beginning to wonder if they’ll ever get their ticket money refunded for his canceled South African shows.

Their chances might have taken a knock when Ticketconnection, the exclusive agent for the tour, released a statement saying, "All refund requests received by Ticketconnection have been forwarded to the promoter [Kusasa] for direct reimbursement."

A week earlier, the Johannesburg Coca Cola Dome issued a statement saying the venue, one of the most popular in the country, won’t be working with Duncan Heafield again because his Celine Dion show at the venue was so badly organised.

"We have not previously publicly commented on the controversy attached to this promoter as we believed it would further aggravate the media uproar," the March 31 Ticketconnection statement said.

"The guarantee we were given by the promoter to advance funds to this promoter was that if the event was compromised, the funds already paid to Josh Groban would be returned to us to enable us to refund the public," Ticketconnection managing director Lise Kuhle told Pollstar.

"I have obviously been in constant contact with the promoter and they have advised me that they in turn are trying their utmost to get the funds back from Josh Groban’s management.

"I have also tried to contact Josh Groban’s management directly and they have not returned my e-mails."

Kuhle said she was advised by attorneys not to comment on whether she saw proof that Kusasa chief Heafield sent deposit payments for Groban or how many of the estimated 40,000-plus ticket buyers are still waiting for refunds.

The Ticketconnection Web site says the company is proud to be able to offer benefits to promoters, venues and event managers, including advancing funds "prior to event realisation subject to limits, terms and conditions," although the policy looks to have left it vulnerable to public outcry and possibly legal action.

It wasn’t possible to get comment from Heafield at press time.

Groban pulled his shows after a Dion tour of South Africa was canceled. Heafield "failed to perform his obligations with regard to the tour," according to a note on the singer’s Web site.

Groban manager Brian Avnet deferred questions to Ticketconnection, telling Pollstar that while they care deeply about the fans, the ticket money is not in management’s hands. Avnet says they plan to release a statement in the coming weeks.