1997/06/28, Dark Harvest festival, Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Distance Over Time 1997

March 28
 Birmingham (cancelled)

June 3
 Leeds
June 7
 Glauchau
June 9
 London
June 10
 London
June 11
 Manchester
June 13
 Dublin
June 28
 Philadelphia
July 10
 Athens
July 12
 Dour
July 18
 Wiesen
July 20
 Rendsburg

The show's organization and cancellations of support slots caused a lot of opinions expressed; these present in the page come from organizators themselves and opposing force in form of Dominion subscriber. For more opinions you can turn to the divest fanatics.

Setlist | Reviews | Links | Organizer's explanations | Pictures | Still movie
Organizer's explanations

Written by Patrick Rodgers of Dancing Ferret Concerts (DncngFerrt@aol.com) for Dominion mailing list

Well, Dark Harvest III is finally over, and we're taking a much-needed vacation, pausing only to do the usual post-show stuff like updating the web site <http://www.ferret.com>, and unusual post-show stuff like issuing public statements. And for the record, this statement comes from DFC and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of our sponsors, co-presenters, or anyone else.

For anyone who's been living under a rock, there was some controversy generated by the last-minute cancellation of Sunshine Blind and The New Creatures from the bill. Thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet, there was a fair amount of misinformation that quickly followed. Here, then, is what we have to say about it.

The Sisters do have a support clause in their contract that allows them to veto support acts. Initially, US-based representatives of The Sisters were supposed to confirm the support acts, but after a week of back-and-forth with them, they decided that the band should decide themselves; thus, several cassettes were FedExed to Europe. A phone call from a UK-based representative of The Sisters followed shortly thereafter, saying that Andrew had heard and approved of the music. Several questions about the appearance of the bands followed, and then approval was given to confirm the bands (less than three weeks before the festival).

Almost a week later, a request came for pictures of the opening bands. Several days later they were faxed to a Sisters representative; we are told that for whatever reason the fax was never received, but that's basically a non-issue. Over the weekend before the festival, Andrew found some pictures for himself on the Internet and informed us that he didn't find the appearance of the opening bands suitable and was thus personally vetoing them. Several discussions followed and in the final accounting Switchblade Symphony were kept on the bill.

It was a loss to the festival for Sunshine Blind and The New Creatures to have been cut. Both bands are very talented musicians and their music would have meshed well with the evening's theme. Both have appeared at previous Dark Harvest festivals and both received excellent crowd response. Anyone with the opportunity to see them live is heartily encouraged to do so.

While many factors were involved in this snafu, perhaps the leading cause was the inherent difficulty in communicating across the Atlantic Ocean in anything resembling a timely fashion. A five hour time difference and a few thousand miles makes a lot of difference.

At the end of the day, The Sisters of Mercy played a show that was nothing short of incredible, simultaneously silencing the various people who said that they wouldn't show, would play one song and then walk, or no longer had anything relevant to contribute. TSOM are alive and well, as they demonstrated this past weekend.

...and that's all we have to say about that particular situation, except to clear up one of the more persistent and less accurate myths. MYTH: Andrew insisted that the opening bands pay for advertising FACT: Andrew never suggested anything of the sort. Furthermore, Metropolis Records and Dancing Ferret reimbursed the cancelled bands for all their expenses, including advertising they purchased.

We're glad people enjoyed the show, and hopefully it will be less than six years before the next one.


Written by Roland Dobbins (rdobbins@erols.com) for Dominion mailing list

This is such utter crap.

I'm glad we got to see SoM - quite frankly, it seems it had been almost in spite of you, rather than because of you.

If you'd been doing your job as a promoter, you would've had complete publicity packets sent to SoM via FedEx or DHL weeks in advance. Either you were too lazy and irresponsible to do so, or you had an ulterior motive in concealing the nature of the opening acts, as Chairman Bax implied in his post of 24 June.

Sunshine Blind suck, so I'm glad they didn't play, but Caroline Blind has every right to be pissed-off at your inept and haphazard handling of this whole affair, as does Mark of the New Creatures. I wouldn't be surprised if they sued you for fraud and misrepresentation; I know that if I were in their shoes, I surely would.

The venue had no security whatsoever, which could've had disastrous consequences. My group and I jumped 9/10s of the line to get in, which was cool for us, but too bad for the others waiting in line - we bought a LOT of the T-shirts, heh. And then someone shot a bottle-rocket at Heavy Water Factory, which could've blinded someone or worse, and nothing was done. You're lucky you don't have people suing you for injuries sustained because of your negligence.

Finally, Tapping the Vein were no-talent, and both they and Heavy Water Factory had idiots running the sound board. The sound for Switchblade and SoM was better, but still not what it could've been.

I can't believe that you'd come on here and with a straight face use "they never got the FAX" as the excuse for failing in your duties as a promoter to ensure that the i's were dotted and the t's crossed on a production of this magnitude well in advance of the week prior to the show date. You should really find another line of work, because you obviously don't know what the hell you're doing; both original opening acts have paid a price for your ineptitude, a huge controversy was created for no good reason, and people could've been physically injured due to you laxity.

If you're going to play in the big leagues, you should be prepared for the responsibility it entails. I had a great time at the show, but no thanks to you.


Written by Patrick Rodgers of Dancing Ferret Concerts (DncngFerrt@aol.com) for Dominion mailing list

<< If you'd been doing your job as a promoter, you would've had complete publicity packets sent to SoM via FedEx or DHL weeks in advance.>>

We FedEx'd exactly what was requested. Nothing more, nothing less.

<<The venue had no security whatsoever, which could've had disastrous consequences. My group and I jumped 9/10s of the line to get in, which was cool for us, but too bad for the others waiting in line - we bought a LOT of the T-shirts, heh. And then someone shot a bottle-rocket at Heavy Water Factory, which could've blinded someone or worse, and nothing was done.>>

Venue security was the responsibility of the venue, which is what we pay them rent for. There were no bottle rockets, although we did see a small string of firecrackers make their way up there. Congrats on being a line-jumping, shirt-hogging jerk; you must be very proud of yourself.

<< The sound for Switchblade and SoM was better, but still not what it could've been.>>

Since both of those bands brought their own sound man to work the board, you should complain to them directly.

<< to ensure that the i's were dotted and the t's crossed on a production of this magnitude well in advance of the week prior to the show date.>>

Time was a luxury not granted to us in regards to this show.

<<If you're going to play in the big leagues, you should be prepared for the responsibility it entails. I had a great time at the show, but no thanks to you. >>

I suppose you think shows like this just spontaneously happen for no reason? Why don't you try to book the Sisters to play in your town? Judging from your criticism, you seem to feel that you know alot about how the business works. I'd be interested to see how you fare.

If we had three months to work on this show instead of 6 1/2 weeks, many things could have been done differently. Given all the factors at play, my opinion, admittedly biased, is that things came together quite well in the final accounting. Certainly not perfectly, but quite well. Your opinion differs and you're entitled to that. Personally, I try to avoid speaking in such absolutes (as you have done) unless I'm certain I happen to be party to all the facts (which you are not), but again, that's just my opinion.

<<I had a great time at the show, but no thanks to you. >>

You're welcome, anyway.


Written by Roland Dobbins (rdobbins@erols.com) for Dominion mailing list

I've promoted Siouxsie and the Smiths, back in the day - I know what's required.

I was too harsh in my first message, perhaps, but "they didn't get the FAX" is a stupid-ass excuse for all the brouhaha that resulted over the opening-acts cancellation and reworking. That NEVER should've been allowed to happen.

Given Eldritch's well-known problems with gothy-types, this should've been a paramount concern, and again, one should ALWAYS send full materials about opening acts to a headliner, regardless of whether they requested said materials or not.

Which SoM did.


My post was perhaps too harsh, and for that I apologise, strictly for form's sake. Your email offering lame excuses for the brouhaha over the opening acts set me off - you avoided all responsbility for it. I'm glad Sunshine Blind and the New Creatures were compensated for their trouble - that's simply common decency.

However, the criticisms still stand.

First of all, according to Eldritch, SoM did request full info packets on the opening acts, yet didn't receive them.

Secondly, even if full information packets, with photos, weren't explicity-requested, you should've sent them, anyway. How did you expect SoM to make a fully-informed judgement of the opening acts, as was their right in the contract, without full information? People don't just go to concerts, nor put them on with simply the music in mind. We could all just stay home and listen to our CDs without all the fuss, if that were the case.

Thirdly, that crap about the 5-hour difference with the UK causing communications difficulties is utter bollocks; I communicate with people in the UK all the time, for business purposes, and one simply uses email, DHL, FedEx, FAX, and/or gets up early to speak directly on the telephone with the concerned parties.

When you put your name on an event as the promoter, whether or not you are technically responsible for such details as security, crowd-management, and so on, you are ultimately responsible for the overall success of the event, just as a captain of a vessel under weigh is responsible for the actions of the crew. If you'd just said, "Hey, look, we had some issues, I'm sorry for those, but overall I think the event was a success, don't you?", it would've been much more honest, and at the same time engendered a much more favourable response.

Having said all that, I know I could do a better job of it, even in 6 1/2 weeks. Maybe you have too much going on at once, maybe you let time creep up on you, maybe you are shy of personnel resources to attend to details. However you slice it, the Philly show was a lashed-up affair, and I'm glad that it actually took place.

I had a 12 people in a van driving 2 1/2 hours to see this show, and more meeting us at the show, and all the while until SoM came onstage I was unsure as to whether the gig would really happen, because of all the loose ends and avoidable controversy which took place.

I can't remember another show with this level of uncertainty and disorganisation in the 15 years I've been playing them, promoting them, or attending them. Ultimately, that's the point of all of this verbiage.

Again, sorry for the harsh response, but your disingenuousness hit a nerve. Eldritch himself told us what happened with the promo package issue - four days before the show.

Setlist | Reviews | Links | Organizer's explanations | Pictures | Still movie | Other dates