Tokio Hotel’s Damage Control

German pop act Tokio Hotel continues to have problems in the old Eastern Bloc, where an alleged combination of poor ticket sales and unreliable promoters have led to shows being moved or canceled.

Having lost Russian shows in St. Petersburg (March 8) and Moscow (March 10), where the act pulled the dates for what a note on its Web site described as “a very material contractual breach and violation by the local promoter,” it’s avoided a similar mess in The Balkans by switching its March 28 show 238 miles from Zagreb to Belgrade, Serbia.

Sol Parker of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, who booked the act’s 32 dates across 19 European countries, had reservations about the Croatian show promoted by Marijan Crnaric and kept a hold on the same date in the Serbian capital.

Parker’s reservations turned out to be justified when Crnaric failed to come up with the deposit, although local media sources report another reason for the cancellation was that he also failed to pay the deposit on the Zagreb venue.

Crnaric’s show puzzled the Croatian media from the outset as it wasn’t clear if he was promoting it himself or on behalf of a charity organisation. The cancellation caused further confusion when the show disappeared from the Zagreb Arena Web site while tickets remained on sale.

The news service, which was apparently deluged by calls from worried fans, suspected “something fishy” was going on and said Crnaric is known for hanging on to ticket money from canceled shows.

It cited two shows from 2004 when he was unable to make refunds on Lenny Kravitz and Metallica, with the latter making fans so angry that police had to be called in to protect box office staff.

Parker won’t comment on what went wrong with the “Welcome To Humanoid City” tour in Russia because it may be the subject of legal action. But he didn’t deny stories suggesting that Tatiana Dalskaya of Top Concerts – the band’s regular promoter in the territory – had failed to come up with any deposit payments.

Dalskaya told national newswires that she did deliver her side of the contact, although she’s not responding to Pollstar questions regarding the payment of the deposits.

“To understand what happened and why I couldn’t handle the shows, one must understand [the] Russian market as it is,” she wrote to friends and colleagues, explaining that she wanted to put across her side of the story because she thought the cancellations may be the subject of gossip at ILMC.

She’d already told RIA Novosti news service that she won’t be taking legal action against the band, which left Russia without playing and headed off to Poland and Czech Republic. She also said she’d “do her best” to ensure that all ticket-holders get a refund.

The young German pop stars did their best to appease Moscow fans who won competition prizes that included meeting the band at their hotel. They also signed autographs for the crowd that gathered on the pavement outside.

Tokio Hotel reportedly attracted about 3,000 people to the Polish show at the 10,000-capacity Lodz Arena March 14, and a similar number a day later in the Czech Republic at the 15,000-capacity Tesla Arena in Prague.

The next shows were in France at Lille, Lyon, Saint-Herblain, Nice and Marseille March 17-23.