2000/08/05, Eurorock festival, Neerpelt, Belgium

Trip the Light Fantastic 2000

August 5
 Neerpelt (cancelled)
August 12
August 19
August 30
September 1
September 2
September 3
September 5
September 6
September 8
September 9

The beginning and the end

As the story goes, the band confirmed the gig in December 1999; it was announced in the official site on December 10th ("...and seeing as it's been more than a week since we last played in Belgium [...]").

Reportedly, in the first month after Sisters name was connected with the festival only through their official site (that's nine month before the actual event, with no other bands mentioned) as much as 30 tickets were bought, most of them by Brits.

From there, the interpretation of events differ. According to the band, they had major communications problem with Eurorock -- that is, they didn't hear from them at all. Anyway, on May 25 this appeared on the official TSOM site:

5 August 2000: Eurorock Festival in Belgium. We agreed to headline it, but the promoter has ignored our (unsigned) contract for too long, so we WON'T be playing it.

Eurorock side of the story

Here's the Eurorock newsletter, dated June 1st:

Bad news, The Sisters of Mercy wont play Eurorock 2000.

The contract specifically forbids use of the words Goth and Doom in connection with the event (as we did in the newsletter). They are very tired of being wrongly labelled as a goth band. Obviously, the addition of more and more exclusively goth/doomrock bands to the bill "has turned into a festival which has no place for the band or their sensibilities".

The organisation received this information 2 weeks ago. The official confirmation we received in december, the detailed contract the 11th of May.

We are still communicating with the management and hope to find a konstruktive solution.

Please notice that the organisation will do all they can to find a suitable solution to this problem.

Sisters side of the story

Band's representative in Dominion mailing list response to the previous newsletter, dated June 3rd, was this:

The Sisters' agent had failed to elicit any response from Eurorock since the beginning of April. His agitation went unanswered. Deadlines came and went. Warnings were utterly ignored. An ulitimatum was issued early in May. This also received no response.

It was Eurorock's two-month refusal to discuss contractual issues that made the band unavailable.

If Eurorock's statement told the whole story, we wouldn't be playing M'era Luna or the Doomsday Festival. We are playing those festivals.

Eurorock only started communicating with the management when it was suggested to them that they stop advertising an unavailable band. Only then did they offer to discuss contractual issues with anybody.

We stand by our remark to them about the band's sensibilities, but that is merely one of many remarks we made to them _after_ the event, in reply to their claim that we must play (at any price, presumably), because they couldn't now find a similar headliner, and because they were choosing to advertise us further.

In the end, they did find a replacement. Ex-Sisters Wayne Hussey, Craig Adams and Co., known as The Mission moved their headlining slot from August 6 to August 5. There must be some humor in here somewhere. Not if you have preordered tickets to the festival, that is.

Final cannon salve came from Sisters via the official homepage on June 14:

Eurorock's news page implies that we removed our explanation from this website at their request, because our explanation was somehow incorrect. Not so. The explanation was quite correct; we merely thought it had served its time.

As it's being implied that we were somehow at fault, here is the explanation again:

Our agent tried for two months (since the beginning of April) to explain to Eurorock that the promoter was acting against certain clauses of the band's standard contract (which was unsigned anyway). The issues raised (which were only the first on our agent's agenda) were not as important, ultimately, as the promoter's refusal to respond at all.

After two months, the promoter similarly ignored a final warning that his continued refusal to address contractual matters would mean that the Sisters, like any band, would be forced to look elsewhere for their work.

We're not too chuffed about it either.

Ticket scanned by Christer Andersson (christe@nada.kth.se).