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ECU: Carolina Kickoff promoter asked to reschedule concert

(WITN)
Published: Aug. 2, 2017 at 4:35 PM EDT
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Officials at East Carolina University are responding to an email from the management for Blake Shelton, where the promoter wrote that ECU asked that the concert be moved.

ECU officials say that is not the case.

An email from Shelton management to WITN Friday cited an email from the concert promoter, Basis Entertainment, saying, "With regard to Greenville NC, the university has told us we must reschedule our show for April 21st of 2018 as explained in our previous email."

JJ McLamb, Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations at ECU, says, "I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They probably heard something second or third hand and interpreted it incorrectly. In fact, we did not tell this to the promoter."

McLamb also said Basis Entertainment is an entertainment company that plans and schedules the Carolina Kickoff; ECU just provides the venue for the event.

He says Basis Entertainment voiced concerns about the timing of the show and requested to reschedule the performance.

The promoter thought the event would be "negatively affected by other events on the scheduled date," McLamb said.

There were also concerns about it possibly being more expensive this year to replace the turf that would be damaged during the event, McLamb said.

The Carolina Kickoff has been rescheduled for April 21, 2018.

The lineup for the April 21 concert has not yet been released, so it is unclear whether Blake Shelton will still be the headliner.

WITN received the following statement from Shelton Friday: “Hello to my fans in Greenville and the surrounding area. I wanna be clear that the Greenville concert cancel had NOTHING to do with me/my camp. I was ready to play! The show has been rescheduled to April and, as you know, every April and May for the last five years I have a commitment at The Voice. I love Greenville! I’ll be back ASAP!"

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Blake Shelton and his management have a bit of a different take on why the August 19th show at ECU was canceled.

WITN received the following statement from Shelton today: “Hello to my fans in Greenville and the surrounding area. I wanna be clear that the Greenville concert cancel had NOTHING to do with me/my camp. I was ready to play! The show has been rescheduled to April and, as you know, every April and May for the last five years I have a commitment at The Voice. I love Greenville! I’ll be back ASAP!"

There was also a statement from his management team regarding an email from the promoter:

“With regard to Greenville NC, the university has told us we must reschedule our show for April 21st of 2018 as explained in our previous email. Although we are hopeful Blake will agree to move the date, we understand he may have a scheduling conflict that prevents him from doing so. If this is the case, Basis Entertainment would like to move forward with replacing Blake for this performance and cancel the date. All media announcements will explain the situation and that the move was due to the universities direction to limit damage to the football field and will not reflect negatively on Blake…We are grateful for all that Blake Shelton and his team have done the university stadium shows and are hopeful that management will understand the situation at hand. Please let me know if you require any additional information and let us know how to proceed.”

It was just Thursday that the promoter told us low ticket sales, timing of another concert in Raleigh, and replacing the sod in time for football season, were contributing factors to rescheduling the concert.

The statement to us from the promoter and from ECU, has not mentioned that the university told the promoter the show must be rescheduled, as the email from the promoter to Shelton management indicates.

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Fans continue to react after learning Wednesday that Blake Shelton, the headliner for the Carolina Kickoff concert at Dowdy Ficklen stadium, which announced last year, is not coming.

Some fans told us they paid high dollar to see a well known performer.

Gabriel Sawyer says he hopes he doesn't lose money after Basis Entertainment announced they are rescheduling the concert at East Carolina University on August 19th, without the headliner preforming.

Sawyer says, "Two weeks away from the show and I couldn't understand why and everything I'm getting, one party is pointing the finger at the other."

We spoke to Sawyer from Oklahoma via videochat. He says he bought the tickets for his wife. They live in eastern Carolina and Sawyer says when he heard his wife's favorite country singer was coming to the east, he jumped at the chance to give her an early Christmas present.

He says, "$368.00 for two tickets. The main thing is we want our money back, a refund. We paid for a headliner, we paid for Blake Shelton."

East Carolina's Associate Athletic Director J.J. McLamb says Basis Entertainment is offering up a free concert and making good with the same ticket for an April 21st concert, with a performer yet to be named.

McLamb says, "We have worked out that Big and Rich, Parmalee and Tucker Beathard will still perform a free concert to current ticket holders of the Carolina Kickoff on Saturday, August the 19th, at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum."

The promoter says low ticket sales, timing of another concert in Raleigh, and replacing the sod in time for football season, are contributing factors to rescheduling the concert.

The promoter hoped to fill the concert arena, which had a capacity of 45,000 people. They sold enough to accommodate ticket holders in Minges Coliseum, which holds about 8,000 people.

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Blake Shelton will not be performing later this month at East Carolina University.

ECU says the 2017 Carolina Kickoff Concert, that was scheduled for August 19th at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, has been moved to April 21st of next year.

“There were multiple factors that came into play when we made the decision to reschedule the concert to April,” explains Gary DeWaard, CEO Basis Entertainment. “There was much concern about the timing of the show in the market, as well as the potential damage that would come to the football field right before the football season begins, so we mutually decided it would be best to reschedule.”

The new lineup for the rescheduled event in April has yet to be released. People who have bought tickets for the August 19th concert are being told to retain their tickets, which will be honored at the rescheduled concert.

Those who have already bought tickets will also get into a free show on August 19th at Minges Coliseum. Big & Rich, Parmalee and Tucker Beathard will perform at the scaled-down event.

For ticketing information contact Basis Entertainment at carolinakickoffticketing@gmail.com.