ZZ Top concert cancellation questioned

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

Music lovers hoping to enjoy a performance by ZZ Top and Three Doors Down last weekend in Atmore left the venue disappointed.

Officials with Wind Creek Casino and Hotel, hosts for the event, have expressed concerns that the cancellation was due to equipment issues rather than issues of safety.

At the time of the cancellation, the bands’ production team cited safety concerns about the stage that they were to perform on despite the fact that ZZ Top had performed on the same stage in Louisiana that was also provided by Sound Associates, the company that owns the same stage used by Wind Creek.

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Brent Pinkston, who serves as vice president of PCI Gaming which operates the Atmore casino, said safety is always an issue with the facility, however, safety may not be the reason behind the band’s cancellation of the show.

“No one is more concerned about safety — both our performers and of course, our customers, than we are” Pinkston said. “Sound Associates has provided the same stage for over 30 of our shows There have been no concerns about the structural validity of the stage by any of these professional performers.  The morning of the show, the band brought up safety concerns only after they saw their       equipment would be exposed to the elements. Preparing for all kinds of weather is something that other bands who have performed here have dealt with professionally and with no negative effect on the audience. ”

Wind Creek officials say Sound Associates representatives related that information concerning every aspect of the stage had been provided to the production company representing ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down. In addition to providing information on the stage, Production Associates also expressed concerns about the size of lighging and video equipment the bands planned to use on the stage, but received no response to those concerns, officials said.

A heavy rain blanketed the venue area in the hours leading up to concert time with band personnel asking for additional assistance from the stage owner to provide protection for the equipment. Wind Creek officials say the stage company made special attempts in meeting those needs. However, despite concerted efforts by work crews, the band’s production crews elected to cancel the concert after fans had been put on hold more than two hours beyond concert time.

Steve Mack, an executive with Sound Associates, said he was confident that safety would not have been an issue if the band had chosen to perform.

“We are confident that the concert could have been performed.” Mack said. “This decision was based on concerns about equipment, not safety. The bands’ production crew knew that this was an outdoor venue and they should have been prepared adapt accordingly we believe that it is reasonable to expect that professional entertainers plan carefully and be prepared for the show to go on.

Wind Creek officials say ticket holders will be issued a refund even though the facility was not to blame for the concert cancellation.

Wind Creek has requested reschedule dates from ZZ Top in accordance with a contract signed between the facility and the band, however no response from the band has been received.