Gary R&B concert cancellation hits sour note
GARY — Disappointed fans of R&B groups Bell Biv Devoe and SWV will get their money back after waiting hours for a concert that didn’t take place Friday at the West Side Leadership Academy.
Concert promoter Rodney Trotter of RLT Music and Filmworks, said Wednesday he was in the process of sorting through the tickets to authorize refunds.
Jerry Schwede, of Gary, said he bought two VIP tickets at $65 each for the concert he expected would take place at the Genesis Center.
Schwede said when he arrived at the Genesis Center, there were signs posted saying the concert had been moved to the West Side auditorium at West Side High School.
“What really go me hot was they told us we had to exchange our tickets, even though the seating was almost identical.”
Schwede said he and his wife waited in a long line to change the tickets before getting into the auditorium. From there, the wait continued.
“We sat and sat and sat,” he said. “They claimed the performers showed up and turned around and left because they weren’t getting paid.”
Ricky Bell, the Bell in Bell Biv Devoe took to Twitter to announce the show’s cancellation Saturday night.
“Due 2 promoter breach, we regret to inform U that we showed up 2night, but we were forced 2 cancel the show @ Westside Theater. We R Sorry!” he tweeted.
Trotter declined to say why the concert didn’t take place. “A lot of people are speculating, the artists were there. It has nothing to do with SWV or BBV. They were ready to perform.”
Trotter declined to go into specifics because he said he wasn’t sure he was talking to “an actual reporter.”
Meanwhile, Antuwan Clemons, of Laughing Right Productions in Gary, sent out a press release Wednesday distancing his company from the failed concert. Clemons said his company sponsored the production as part of a collaboration effort to “help the community enjoy live entertainment in its own backyard.”
Clemons, who estimated about 1,000 people were in attendance, said the show was canceled due to budgetary reasons. Clemons offered an apology to concert goers and the school district. His press release listed Trotter’s phone number.
Schwede said he was told he’ll have to wait at least two weeks to get his money back. He said he also took the night off from his chauffeur job to attend the concert because he’s a big fan of SWV, also known as Sisters With Voices, a Grammy-nominated trio from New York. Bell, Biv, Devoe are former members of New Edition.
“What really makes me mad is I didn’t get to see the concert,” Schwede said.