We would like to apologise for the delay in Cassandra Wilson’s performance at Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 15 November. We understand how frustrating this was for members of the audience.
We faced real difficulties in being able to confirm accurate information to the audience about the situation regarding Cassandra's delayed appearance.
She and her band arrived in London on Saturday 14 November. The band had been present at the Southbank Centre from 3pm on the day, with Cassandra herself due to arrive from her nearby hotel at 4pm to soundcheck, in good time to prepare for the performance. However, Cassandra repeatedly delayed leaving her hotel without Serious or Southbank Centre being told when, or if, she was willing to go onstage. Aware that the audience were growing increasingly unhappy, her band left the Southbank Centre to go to her hotel where they finally managed to persuade Cassandra to leave her room and perform the concert.
We apologise that we were unable to inform the audience more promptly, as it was unclear how the situation would develop, and we did not wish to give misleading information. The show started at 9.45pm and she played a set of just over an hour. Customers have been contacted by the venue to offer refunds.
Cassandra Wilson was paid in full by Serious, less a 20% deduction for her UK tax liability, which was laid out in the contract created by her agent, and signed by Cassandra Wilson personally. 50 % of her fee was paid one month in advance of the concert, with the balance less the above-mentioned tax deduction paid in the week before the concert. Supporting documentation was given to her business manager, so the claim by Cassandra Wilson that she has not been paid is not true.
Cassandra Wilson gave us no clear reason for the long delay in coming to the venue and taking the stage and made no claim of illness until she walked on stage. Serious has not only paid the artist and covered all her agreed costs, but also covered all the costs of the concert and offered ticket refunds on the night to everyone who attended the concert. Serious believes that this was the right and responsible thing to do, although it is at considerable financial cost to us.
Serious first presented Cassandra Wilson in 1990, when she played in the Camden Jazz Festival, and we have valued our working relationship ever since, producing many of her major concerts in London. We pride ourselves on looking after artists with warmth and professionalism, and this is the first time in many years of producing Festivals, concerts and tours that we have encountered a set of circumstances as unfortunate as these.