Peter Corry Devastated as titanic Drive-In Concerts Are Cancelled
Peter Corry, one of Northern Ireland’s most popular and enduring entertainers, has expressed his total devastation that a series of drive-in concerts he had planned at Titanic Slipways in Belfast next weekend have had to be cancelled.
The West End singing sensation had initially proposed the concerts, featuring well-known artists such as Abba tribute act The Bjorn Identity and Flash Harry, back at the start of lockdown.
Ticket sales for the events, scheduled to be staged between July 3 and 5, had been brisk until last week when the NI Executive unexpectedly announced further relaxations in the restriction of movement. Speed of change and lack of clarity over how the new rules will be implemented have had a sudden negative impact on ticket sales for Peter’s planned concerts. This has now rendered the events not economically viable.
Peter said: “Like everyone involved, I am genuinely disappointed for artists and audiences alike that these concerts have had to be cancelled at such late notice.
“I approached the Titanic Foundation back in March to discuss the possibility of drive-in concerts as a way to give the people of Belfast the chance to enjoy top-class entertainment in a safe environment and support local performers.
“I was so personally committed to the project, invested heavily into staging these concerts and my team and I have been working for the last three months to make this happen.
“While preparing for the drive-in concerts, I knew they might only be relevant for a certain window of time. However, the fluid and unpredictable nature of the course of the pandemic means the announcement of the reopening of the hospitality industry has sadly rendered our plans for drive-in concerts out of date,” he said.
Last week, ahead of the initially anticipated date for ending lockdown restrictions locally, the NI Executive gave the green light for bars and restaurants to reopen on the same weekend Peter’s concerts were set to take place. This unexpected announcement saw ticket sales for Peter’s Titanic drive-in concerts slow down considerably.
“This has forced us to take the difficult and painful decision to cancel our events. Patrons now feel they have alternative options for socialising in their favourite bars and restaurants over that weekend,” he said.
“The guidelines under which our concerts could take place were very clear that no-one could get out of their cars except for a toilet break. So why would patrons opt to sit in their cars when they can now suddenly sit outside for a meal or a drink? Again, why would they choose to listen to singers through a car stereo when common sense and comparable guidelines suggest you could now hear them safely live?
“While of course, I welcome the news that life is set to return to a new type of ‘normal’, this rapid escalation of the lifting of social gathering restrictions has moved the goalposts for our events which were planned at a time when we could not know how the course of lockdown would play out.”
Not one to readily admit defeat, Peter has lobbied the Executive for support and has asked for the same relaxing of conditions to be applied to his events but to no avail, forcing him to pull the plug or face serious personal financial loss.
Speaking of his vision of how the concerts would work, Peter said: “I wanted people to be able to drive in and then get out of their car and sit in an area designated for their group while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Patrons could have set up a table and chairs and enjoyed the shows with a bit of dancing. They would also have had the option to remain in their vehicle if it made them feel safer.
“Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to receive the answer I needed from the relevant authorities in time to truly make this event the success I feel it had the potential to be.
“Tickets were selling well, and we were expecting many more to be sold this week and next just ahead of the concerts. But the official reopening of the hospitality industry now coincides with our events. Naturally, patrons want to return to their usual pubs and eateries and re-establish a sense of normality, leaving our event feeling as if it hasn’t been allowed to move on with everything else”
Peter had invested considerably in terms of time and energy into setting up the concerts. He is bitterly disappointed for artists and audiences that they are now not going to happen, but says he must be realistic at such a financially difficult time.
“Putting on shows is always a risk. But this time there has been the added challenge of COVID-19 and an ever-changing landscape of what we are allowed to do. I truly believed and hoped these concerts would bring a huge amount of joy and celebration to audiences and performers alike. I am now disappointed that they won’t be possible.”
Ticket refunds will be processed from Monday 29th June, and Peter has personally apologised to patrons and everyone involved in the staging the concerts.
“Please believe me; the decision to cancel the concerts is not one I have taken lightly. No one is more upset and disappointed than I. We have been overtaken by rapidly evolving events in these unprecedented times. I sincerely hope that everyone understands why we have had to cancel what was shaping up to be a series of great shows,” he said.
“I want to thank everyone for their good wishes and to remind people to please support their local arts scene which has been devastated by the pandemic. While the hospitality industry can open next weekend, restrictions remain in place that will have a direct impact on all live performances in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
“Performers are in a financially precarious position under normal circumstances. Having to cancel our drive-in concerts is a clear example of how the entertainment and arts sectors are so vulnerable and disproportionally affected by the continually changing conditions required to manage the pandemic.”
Peter concluded: “I urge the NI Executive to urgently take note that unless there is considerable government intervention, there is a real danger our local arts and entertainment industry will be destroyed. I also want to directly appeal to the public to support your local arts or be at serious risk of losing it forever.”
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