Crnaric Blames The Market

Croatian promoter Marijan Crnaric says the global economic crisis was to blame for him reneging on his deal to put on Tokio Hotel in the Croatian capital March 28, forcing the band’s agent to find an alternative show at less than a month’s notice.

Solomon Parker from William Morris Endeavor Entertainment’s London office, who booked the German pop act’s 32-date tour of 19 European countries, moved the show 238 miles from Zagreb to Belgrade after Crnaric allegedly made excuses for continually delaying his deposit.

Parker told Pollstar he set up “a Plan B” when he became suspicious that Crnaric wouldn’t be able to come through with the money. He provisionally organised another show on the same date at the similarly sized, 15,000-capacity Belgrade Arena in the Serbian capital.

The Croatian promoter says last autumn he agreed the date and fee for Tokio Hotel just before his company lost more than euro 200,000 ($270,540) on a run of shows including Sinead O’Connor, David Byrne, ZZ Top and Eros Ramazzoti.

“When all those shows collapsed, like in other businesses, it’s unfortunately normal that problems show up,” he said, explaining that his company became “financially incapable” of paying the Tokio Hotel deposit.

“Financial institutions were not willing to open credit arrangements based on 2009 results,” he said, adding that it’s hard to find willing investors for “a risky business in a weak market.”

Crnaric says the global economic crisis has hit his region especially hard.

“It’s strongly pushing down general results in various businesses, from production, retailing, tourism, as well in entertainment,” he said. “We could see banks, big trading companies, and industry facing collapse.”

He said much bigger companies than his wouldn’t have been able to suffer such a run of negative results and still continue trading normally.

Crnaric also says he tried to renegotiate the Tokio Hotel deal and first learned of the cancellation when he was told the date was being advertised in a neighbouring market.

He didn’t comment on a news service report claiming the show was first known to be in trouble when the venue cut it from its Web site advertising because he hadn’t paid his deposit for the hire of the building.

However, Crnaric did hit back at a story saying it suspected “something fishy” was going on because he is known for hanging on to ticket money from canceled shows.

It cited Metallica and Lenny Kravitz shows from 2004. Crnaric says all the Kravitz refunds have now been paid and “only some 700” of the 5,000 Metallica fans are still waiting to get their money back.

Tokio Hotel’s Russian shows in St. Petersburg (March 8) and Moscow (March 10) were also pulled when Tatiana Dalskaya of Top Concerts – the band’s regular promoter in the territory – failed to come up with her deposit payments.

She told the Russian media that she’d honoured the contract in full, but the RIA Novosti news service ran a story saying she’s admitted she has no plans to take legal action against the band.