Extra 11,000 Paul McCartney concert tickets in bid to cover costs
Apr 15 2008 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post
THOUSANDS of extra tickets are to go on sale for Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Sound concert on June 1 to cover mounting costs, the Daily Post can reveal.
Liverpool Culture Company is to offer 11,000 tickets on top of the 25,000 already sold for the concert at Anfield to cover a budget increase from around £1.8m to nearly £2m.
An internal Liverpool Council document, obtained by the Daily Post, reveals these costs are on top of £323,000 spent on the aborted plan to hold the concert in the Salthouse Dock.
Last night council leader Warren Bradley insisted the council had managed to negotiate a “great deal” that would see £300,000 given to charity.
Labour opposition leader Joe Anderson said he would be meeting with council chief executive Colin Hilton to demand “assurances” over the matter.
“It reminds me of the cancelled Mathew Street festival fiasco,” he added.
The document states that 7,000 additional tickets were always anticipated to be sold, but now another 4,000 will be to be sold to generate an additional £200,000.
However, the document warns that the event has not yet received licensing approval for the additional capacity, but “discussions” are “expected to be concluded in the near future”.
The Daily Post understands that the main cost issues arose from the loss of potential world-wide broadcasting rights.
It is understood that originally Sir Paul was to perform with established international stars, but the line-up will now feature younger more cutting edge artists who are not saleable in the same way.
Broadcast rights are still anticipated to generate additional income though.
The Daily Post understands the Culture Company and the BBC are in discussions to broadcast the event but it is not likely to be live.
The Corporation is believed to be keen for the line up to be announced before approving the deal.
No contingency has been set aside because the Capital of Culture events programme is already forecasting a deficit of £1.6m, the document also warns.
The Culture Company was originally organising the event at Anfield.
But Sir Paul’s own production company - McCartney Productions Limited (MPL) - were given control, because it was “the sensible thing” to do according to Culture supremo Phil Redmond.
The former Beatle is not receiving a fee for his appearance and has asked that £300,000 from the concert be donated to Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity.
MPL have demanded that £1.7m be put into an escrow account, to be drawn on to pay for the event.
If there are any cost over-runs the council will pay the bill.
“An escrow account is an arrangement where the city council is not actually making payment to the contractor but is placing funds at the disposal of the contractor,” states the document.
“Should the concert now not take place there will be considerable adverse publicity and reputational damage to both the Culture Company board and the city council.”
Cancelling the concert at this stage would have left the council with £200,000 costs.
The first 25,000 tickets were sold in a lottery by the Culture Company, with prices ranging from £35 to £75 in price.
According to the council there is currently a waiting list from the original ballot, and it is expected that high demand will see all 11,000 snapped up.
Council leader Warren Bradley said: “The Liverpool Sound Concert was always anticipated as one of the great highlights of the year.
“We have negotiated a great deal out of which some £300,000 will be raised for charity.
“All the tickets released to date, sold out in hours and I am confident further releases will do likewise.
“Sir Paul has generously given his time for free and Liverpool Football Club are providing the venue at cost.
“It will be another great 2008 occasion for the city and its people.”
Redmond said organising the gig was a lot easier from a logistics point of view than the opening event on St George’s Plateau in January.
“For a lot of people not used to things like it sounds like a scary moment, but it is a typical moment in the long and winding road to a high-profile successful event.”
“Anfield is a venue used to big crowds, and the event should tick along fine now.
“The only change here is the line-up, although it will be fantastic in its own right, it’s not the original one that would have guaranteed overseas sales.
“In relation to the £1.6m [shortfall], Bryan Gray and I are trying to get everybody focused to that to get to the reality of the budget.
“There are things in that £1.6m they [the council] could easily put in another cost centre.
“A lot of it is what we have inherited from previous management.”
He said he hoped the position with regards that shortfall would be clearer in a couple of weeks.
“For every £1 spent on culture it generates £7 for the city.”