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ECU refunding ticket cost for Carolina Kickoff concert

People-Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton performs at the 12th Annual Stars for Second Harvest Benefit at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., in 2016.


The Daily Reflectorf

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

East Carolina University is issuing refunds to thousands of people who purchased tickets for a Blake Shelton concert scheduled for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium last August, officials announced Wednesday.

The country music superstar was supposed to headline the second Carolina Kickoff concert on Aug. 19, but the concert’s promoter announced Aug. 2 that the show would not go on as planned. Other acts on the ticket, Big & Rich, Parmalee and Tucker Beathard, performed for free instead, and the Carolina Kickoff rescheduled for April 21, though it was never clear from promoters if Shelton would play.

Wednesday’s announcement from ECU said that the concert promoter, Basis Entertainment, has not made good on its promise to provide musical artists for the April event and “has failed to provide adequate assurances that it could arrange for a concert on a later date.”

The university is conferring with the North Carolina Attorney General’s office about its legal options, which could include filing a lawsuit against Basis, the news release said.

Meanwhile, ECU will refund money to would-be concert goers who purchased 6,394 tickets, the university announced. Officials declined to specify a dollar value for the tickets.

“We appreciate the public’s patience and realize this has been a frustrating process. That is why ECU has stepped up to provide refunds to ticket holders instead of continuing to wait on responses from the promoter,” J.J. McLamb, ECU senior associate athletic director for internal operations. said in the release.

Many ticket holders complained they would not be able to attend a concert in April and that they paid to see Shelton, not an act to be named later. Shelton, in fact, announced via social media at the time that he would not be able to play in April because he would be working on “The Voice” television show.

The reason for the August cancellation was never abundantly clear. Basis initially indicated the decision was ECU’s but later elaborated.

Multiple factors came into play, Gary DeWaard, CEO Basis Entertainment, said at the time. “There was much concern about the timing of the show in the market, as well as the potential damage that would come to the football field right before the football season begins, so we mutually decided it would be best to reschedule.”

McLamb said the department supported the postponement after being informed about the anticipated cost to replace the turf and ticket sales.

The first Carolina Kickoff with headliner Eric Church caused significant damage to the west end zone in 2016 that had to be quickly repaired prior to the Pirates’ home opener.

Shelton, again through social media, said at the time that he was ready to perform on the original date.

The refund process will begin immediately. Completion of the process may take up to six weeks.

Anyone with questions about the refunds should contact ECU’s Athletic Ticket Office, 252-737-4500, athletictickets@ecu.edu.