WINSTON SALEM, NC (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — By many accounts, November 11th’s hip-hop and dance concert at the Millennium Center fell far short of its billing as a revolution in Triad nightlife.
The two top-billed artists did not perform. De La Soul wasn't there, and Ghostface Killah of Wu Tang Clan refused to perform after the promoter told him that he couldn't pay him in full, leaving some concert-goers feeling as if they wasted their money.
The promoter, Dan Ehrlich, said that he is $15,000 to $20,000 in debt from the concert. He admitted that he has not been able to fully pay the artists because he relied on ticket sales at the door – which didn't provide enough money.
Several women who attended the show also said they were inappropriately groped on their inner legs by a male security guard as they entered the hall – complaints that Ehrlich acknowledged he has heard.
The Millennium Center's owner said yesterday that he would more carefully scrutinize the promoters he allows to hold concerts.
Called "MoonbreakeR: A Revolution in Triad Nightlife," the concert was the first event for promoter Ehrlich, a Winston-Salem native.
People bought tickets in advance for $20 to $29, and the door price was advertised as $37.
"I drove here from Atlantic Beach to see the show," said Cherie Smith, 22, who bought an advance ticket for $29 and came to see Ghostface. "To have driven up there and paid that money and to not even have gotten an apology or anything, it was just uncalled for."
The show drew 300 to 500 people, according to Ehrlich and Greg Carlyle, the owner of the Millennium Center.
Carlyle tried to emphasize the positive yesterday- that scheduled DJs performed, that Ehrlich brought in replacement artists at the last minute, and that Ehrlich reduced the door price because De La Soul wasn't there.
But Carlyle said he wasn't happy about the concert, and he said that Ghostface Killah told him that he had no written contract with Ehrlich.
"To my knowledge, we have never had a performer not go on. This is the first time," Carlyle said. "We, as an event center, as a result of this particular situation, will demand full disclosure from all promoters in the future. We want to make sure that you've got a contract with this artist. We want to make sure that you've paid your deposit fees to this artist. We want a guarantee that this show will go on."
Ehrlich's big mistake was relying on ticket sales to pay artists, said Jay Stephens, the owner of Ziggy's and a concert promoter.
"The worst thing you ever want to do is go into a show, the week of the show, and be relying on ticket sales because you don't know what the public's going to do," Stephens said. "You should always have enough money to produce your show in advance of doing it."
Ehrlich, 27, said he was surprised at the low attendance at the show, which was promoted on the radio and in newspapers, fliers and posters. He said he had planned on at least 1,500 people. He said that in addition to owing money to the artists, he also owes money to partners, whom he declined to name.
The situation broke down, he said, when De La Soul's manager called on Thursday asking for more money in advance, which Ehrlich said he couldn't provide.
During the show, he said, he had to tell Ghostface Killah that he wouldn't be able to pay him the amount upon which they had agreed. Ticket sales provided "not even a fraction of the amount of money that I needed to pay him," Ehrlich said.
Ghostface did not perform.
"I did give a few refunds, but then I basically just ran out of money after trying to pay the acts and pay the DJs what I could, and of course, I basically had to give Ghostface all the money I had," Ehrlich said.
Carlyle said that the Millennium Center has been unable to get in touch with Ehrlich since the show.