Replacing a Cancellation

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

Just as in life, the circumstances of an event can change in an instant. While all of the people responsible for the event and the thousands of fans attending are counting on seeing the announced acts, sometimes an unintended obstacle can get in the way.

Whether it be a death in the family, injury, issues with their voice, sickness or, in our most recent case, pregnancy, sometimes an act simply cannot make it to the show. Recently Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum got some exciting news that she was pregnant and since doctor’s orders restricted her from performing late into her pregnancy, we had 5 headline slots to fill at festivals throughout North America and Canada.

Country Thunder, Country Stampede, Craven Country Jamboree, Big Valley Jamboree and NEBRASKAland Days all had to restructure and find a new headliner with the news. Sometimes things happen outside of the artist’s control and we as talent buyers have to be prepared to hit the ground running to find a replacement.

The first step is to find out who is available, and with 19 country tours this year that can be a challenge this late in the game, especially with a headliner. We have to reach out to agencies and make sure there aren’t radius conflicts, the act is available and the festival can afford them.

Once we have a list of who is available, we have to work with the client and find someone they feel comfortable with booking. Usually we aim to replace the cancellation with someone of equal popularity and price. However, if an event is sold out or about to sell out it may make more sense to save the money and go for a less expensive act.

Sometimes we may even choose to switch genres. For example, in a switch from country to rock, NEBRASKAland Days has announced Kid Rock as Lady Antebellum’s replacement.

Kid Rock - RebelSoulAdmat Image 2013 - med

When a festival lineup is announced it is strictly marketed that no refunds are allowed and the lineup is subject to change. Since many festivals are multi-day with multiple acts, it would be impossible to figure out refunds for just one particular artist. However, for a hard ticket date like NEBRASKAland Days, audiences have an option to refund their tickets.

The last step in filling the cancellation is to request the artist to perform at the show next year for the same amount of money. While in some cases the client will opt not to make an offer for next year, about 80% of the time the artist and client agrees to have them back.

As a company that has seen and replaced cancellations 96, 48 and even down to 24 hours out, it becomes a part of every year’s talent buying process.


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