Tom Petty fans were heartbroken when his Saturday (June 8) concert in Los Angeles came to an abrupt end mid-set. But in a statement on Wednesday (June 12), Petty assured attendees that they will receive a full refund for their tickets.
The band was part way through their fourth show of a six-night residency at the Hollywood club the Fonda when the fire marshal declared the venue overcrowded and shut it down, according to the LA Times.
The newspaper reports that around 10:30 p.m., Petty informed the crowd that “about 100” people in the general admission floor area needed to either leave the concert or move up to the balcony, or the show could be shut down. When fans didn’t budge, the singer stepped to the mic during an extended instrumental in the band’s “Melinda” to say the show was over.
While an official statement from the band the day after the show confirmed that the number of tickets sold did not exceed the legal capacity of the building, firsthand reports lend insight into how exactly the venue ended up overcrowded.
LA Weekly cited accounts from concertgoers who point their fingers at poor management practices by venue staff and security, who allegedly accepted bribes from fans without tickets and did not check wristbands as people entered different sections of the venue.
The newspaper spoke with an unnamed woman who said that while she had a ticket to the sold-out show, her husband waited outside the venue in hopes that he could purchase one on-site. According to the report, when he asked a staff member when more tickets might be released, she offered to let him in, sans ticket, for $80 cash.
Another attendee added that security never even checked her ticket or wristband. While a fan told the newspaper that he had a wristband for floor access, but when he left the area to use the restroom his re-entry was blocked by security.
“It didn’t matter that my wife was on the floor,” he said. “Nor did it matter that security didn’t warn any of us who went to the bathroom that we would not be let back onto the floor. People were PISSED. Lots of yelling. Everyone was screaming for a manager.”
Luckily, frustrated fans will be getting their money back, as the group was only able to deliver three-quarters of their intended set. Billboard reported that Petty addressed his Sunday night (June 9) Fonda crowd with empathy in regards to the situation.
“We had to quit a little early last night,” he said to the audience. “I don’t like to assign blame, but it wasn’t me. I’m absolutely sure we’re going to work this out. If I have to pay it myself, everyone will be reimbursed.”
The band’s refund statement confirms that Ticketmaster will pay back the full price of each ticket, including all associated fees, and that “the satisfaction of fans is of paramount importance to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.”
The Fonda has not yet released an official statement regarding the incident, however the LA Times reports that one is forthcoming.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are scheduled for eight more U.S. tour dates through the end of the month.
– Nee-Sa Lossing, Radio.com