Claim bands skipping city because Regent staff ‘difficult’

Darryl Young is disappointed the Pink Floyd Experience will not be coming to Dunedin. PHOTO:...
Darryl Young is disappointed the Pink Floyd Experience will not be coming to Dunedin. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
A major New Zealand tribute act says it and other bands are skipping coming to Dunedin because of poor experiences with the Regent Theatre.

The Regent Theatre’s director says she believes staff at the venue are forthcoming and proactive and it is comparatively priced.

A person involved with the Pink Floyd Experience told the Otago Daily Times particular staff had been "difficult for a long time".

They would not be taking their "Pulse" tour to Dunedin, but would be playing at Christchurch’s Wolfbrook Arena.

They said the price of the venue, and the general obstacles the theatre put in place, meant they were unlikely to come back.

They also alleged other groups were skipping the city because of similar issues with the Regent Theatre.

Band organiser Darren Whittaker responded to Dunedin fan Darryl Young’s queries, saying there were several issues including the fact they would go to Dunedin and only just break even because they could never get the numbers.

"Also the venue are not the easiest people to work with, and to be quite honest some of my staff do not want to ever set foot back in the Regent Theatre ever again, so my hands are tied."

Regent Theatre director Sarah Anderson said it was "obviously their prerogative".

"We review it constantly to see whether our pricing is comparative, and we’re on par if not better than other theatres in the country; and that’s all off the back of only receiving partial funding from ratepayers, rather than being totally underwritten by the council."

Asked about allegations of staff being difficult to deal with, she said this was "unfortunate".

"From the front of house to back of house, staff have always been forthcoming and proactive, but there are always going to be pressure points.

"What they also have to consider are the limitations of a historic building.

The Regent Theatre is a Heritage New Zealand category 1 building.

"The staff have to ensure the integrity of the building, and the safety of the audience that come to watch the shows, is maintained.

"There’s often a lot of pushback from companies, but there are some things that can’t be compromised, and we have those conversations well in advance."

Conversations with the Pink Floyd Experience had been "long and protracted" in the past, she said.

"We go out of our way to make working with [touring acts] as easy as possible; what we don’t do is give everything away for nothing.

"My understanding is that [the Pink Floyd Experience] is not performing in theatres any more because theatres can’t handle their tech.

"The expectations and reality have changed."

Mr Young, who contacted the Pink Floyd Experience asking why they were not coming to Dunedin, said the group’s response was "concerning".

"At a time when Dunedin is struggling for concerts, the fact the Regent Theatre is not being co-operative is a great worry.

"I hope there is not a lack of professionalism."