The show will go on at Mis­sion

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MARTY SHARPE AND AN­DRE CHUMKO

Af­ter the can­cel­la­tion of this year’s Mis­sion Es­tate Con­cert, ques­tions are be­ing asked about its fu­ture.

Fol­low­ing Neil Di­a­mond’s re­cent Parkin­son’s di­ag­no­sis, event di­rec­tor Garry Craft was on the hunt for a re­place­ment act to head­line the an­nual show, con­firm­ing two ‘‘A-list’’ celebri­ties were be­ing con­sid­ered be­fore it was of­fi­cially canned more than a week ago.

Craft said this year’s can­cel­la­tion would not jeop­ar­dise fu­ture shows.

‘‘I’ve al­ready com­menced dis­cus­sions with acts for 2018/19 and 19/20, so I’m well un­der­way to have the next two sum­mers se­cured.’’

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed ‘‘an ex­haus­tive search’’ for an A-list re­place­ment for Di­a­mond. Craft said he had searched the world over to find a suit­able re­place­ment and the de­ci­sion to can­cel was not taken lightly.

The con­cert was to have been on March 17.

It is not the first time the event has been called off. In 2015, it was can­celled af­ter or­gan­is­ers could not find a ‘‘suit­able act’’, and the 2009 show set to fea­ture Lionel Richie was canned due to bad weather.

The two acts con­sid­ered as re­place­ments for this year’s con- cert could not resched­ule on short no­tice, he said.

‘‘It’s just a mat­ter of pulling it all to­gether – but it was al­ways go­ing to be a pull with the travel com­po­nen­try. Hawke’s Bay is a long way away from the UK and from North Amer­ica, where 90 per cent of the artists live.’’

An­other is­sue was artists tour­ing with large pro­duc­tion troupes.

‘‘Neil Di­a­mond was 70 peo­ple. An­other one I was hope­ful was go­ing to come to­gether had a tour­ing party of 40 peo­ple. So it’s not just a mat­ter of whether the artist is avail­able,’’ Craft said.

Lo­cal acts were con­sid­ered, but fell through as ‘‘the bulk of them were com­mit­ted and not avail­able’’.

Craft could not pro­vide an ex­act fig­ure of the to­tal losses from this year’s can­cel­la­tion, but it was ex­pected to be sig­nif­i­cant.

He said about $100,000 of losses would be in­curred ex­chang­ing New Zealand cur­rency back into US dol­lars for pur­chases made by the com­pany for ‘‘artist fees, de­posits [and] var­i­ous other charges’’.

A full re­fund will be is­sued to each cus­tomer’s pur­chas­ing credit card. If it is ex­pired or can­celled, ticket pur­chasers will be con­tacted for bank trans­fer de­tails.

‘‘The Mis­sion Con­cert apol­o­gises for any in­con­ve­nience this can­cel­la­tion has caused to its loyal sup­port­ers,’’ Craft said.

The stage when the Dixie Chicks played at the Mis­sion Es­tate Win­ery in Napier. Left, event di­rec­tor Garry Craft.

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