New Year concert faces sunset say organisers

Gisborne's millennium concert featuring Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Split Enz and David Bowie, is looking almost certainly doomed.

Concert organiser Bruce Bell says he is resigned to the concert's not going ahead as last-minute attempts to find a financial backer appear to have failed.

Ticket sales have been slow, with only 2000 to 3000 tickets sold at $400 each.

Late last week, the Year 2000 Festival Company said it would drop ticket prices to between $100 and $150 a head, but could not be more specific on price until it had a firm backer. Yesterday the company said the signs were not encouraging and the chances of signing a financial backer were slight.

Mr Bell said the future of the main acts, Bowie, Split Enz and Dame Kiri, was unclear because the company had contractual agreements with them.

"Pressure from those acts and those contractual arrangements are heavy and we have only got a few days to satisfy details of those contracts." Mr Bell said the company had put $2 million into the concert over several years.

The company had yet to talk to liquidators.

Mr Bell said obtaining a financial backer was not intentionally left so late.

"These things just don't work perfectly.

"You can have as many contingency plans in the world but they don't always work that way."

Mr Bell said the company had not relied on ticket sales to keep the company afloat until the concert.

"Quite the contrary. Ticket sales are through Ticketek and those monies are kept in trust.

"The nature of the whole event was funds up-front to meet commitments, and revenue at the end once the event had occurred."

- NZPA

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