Good morning all,
As another big-name performer pulls out of a couple of racecourse gigs over the next couple of days, I wonder whether these concerts are starting to do more harm than good.
My thoughts on the main blog, plus a selection from Newmarket today.
I remember when these concerts first started on racing days and we all thought what a boon they would be. After all, what could be better than bringing a potential new audience to racing, increasing attendances and generally bringing more money into the courses?
A few years on and I'm wondering whether this business model has worked, or if, in certain cases, it's done more harm than good.
Paloma Faith is the latest act to pull out of a couple of high-profile gigs, one at Haydock tonight and then Lingfield tomorrow. Lingfield had more than enough problems when Craig David played there last year, with reports of poor security and overcrowding, so for this to happen is another blow. Fair play to Chic for stepping in at the last minute to cover, but it'll be a different audience that wants to see them rather than Paloma and the attendance figure will be hit.
This follows Tom Jones pulling out of York a fortnight ago when bad weather was given as the reason for his non-attendance. The racecourse must have known late afternoon that Tom would be unable to play yet the announcement of his non-appearance was only made half an hour before he was due on. The cynic in me says that was done to keep folk eating and drinking in the bars, a notion backed up by the fact that the speakers were taken down a hour before that, according to those on the spot.
Looking at the comments on Twitter following Lingfield's announcement –
“Come on, hurry up and tell us who (is the replacement), I am sure we will be disappointed anyway, as we bought the tickets to see Paloma, my wife and I don't even like the bloody horseracing!”
“You should be issuing refunds to those who don’t wish to see the replacement band and don’t want to come back another day. It’s disgraceful.” (Lingfield currently digging their heels in about giving refunds.)
“Just wondering if
@LingfieldPark bare face cheek of not fully refunding customers, will be the death of people signing up for the annual ‘big name' act events? It has definitely put me off.”
There are some positive comments regarding the Chic booking but this does look another own goal, and Lingfield's refusal to issue refunds is only making the situation worse.
When the concerts are done well – and Newmarket's Friday nights are superb, the stage setting that they have works really well and you do feel the whole racing/concert package works brilliantly, but at some point racing has to realise that people are there for the concert, not the racing. Those in charge are kidding themselves, looking at attendance figures and thinking that all is well. It isn't, and it's a situation that will need addressing.
On to Newmarket tonight, where there's been some rain and they may get a bit more before racing as well. That swings me towards Majrooh in the 7.10 who hasn't won for a while, which is a worry, but equally he's lightly raced for a 6yo and is clearly finding a bit of form after two solid efforts at Kempton (behind Magellan, who won again the other night) and then beaten under a length at Pontefract last time out. The trip and ground are ideal, which can't be said for a few of the others who might well want it a bit quicker, and I'm hoping he can pounce late to take this.
Today's selection – Majrooh 7.10 Newmarket
Good luck with all your bets today,