Libertines cancel Blackpool show for second time

The Libertines have cancelled their rearranged show at Blackpool's Empress Ballroom.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 1st November 2017, 8:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:33 am
The Libertines
The Libertines

The indie band were due to play on December 14. This is the second time The Libertines have been forced to pull out, the original date was in September.

The Kooks, Alt J and Placebo have already had to postpone their shows at the Ballroom due to ongoing repair work to the historic ceiling.

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A statement posted to the band's official Twitter account read: “Due to continuing health and safety concerns, which called for essential maintenance work on the ceiling at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, The Libertines rescheduled show on December 14th has had to be cancelled.

“The band were very much looking forward to playing this legendary venue, are saddened that the show has to be cancelled and apologise to fans, but ask them to understand that the concert on both occasions was cancelled by the management of the Empress Ballroom and the rescheduled date was offered by the venue and this unfortunate situation is totally out of The Libertines’ control.”

The band said ticket refunds could be obtained at the point of purchase.

Assessments have been taking place and repairs are under way, but Winter Gardens' bosses have been unable to get the go-ahead for music events - although prestigious Blackpool National Dance Championships, from Thursday to Saturday, November 16 to 18 will go ahead in the ballroom.

The first show cancelled at the Empress was Alt-J's gig, when a panel of the ornate plasterwork ceiling was found to have fallen from the roof early on Monday, September 4 during routine checks of the Winter Gardens complex.

Blackpool Council, the owners of the Winter Gardens, has now brought forward plans to carry out a major survey of ‘historic plaster ceilings in entertainment venues within its ownership’.

The survey was already scheduled for 2018, but last week Winter Gardens managing director Michael Williams said ‘proposed changes to the official guidance on plaster ceilings’ following an incident at London’s Apollo had brought forward a ‘programme of further investigation, repair and restoration by approximately one year’.

Mr Williams said: “This will give us greater certainty as to the condition of these ceilings and allow us to plan and budget for repairs and restoration at an earlier stage.“However, in order to undertake the refurbishment of the Empress Ballroom ceiling, we will need to install a working platform at high level and this will be supported by a series of towers that will span the length of the ballroom.

“Clearly, this will impact on events that we host in the venue.”

Where sell-out gigs can accommodate around 3,000 revellers, attendance at the events which are going ahead is significantly reduced from the Empress’s maximum capacity. Headlining bands also bring in heavy stage, sound and lighting rigs.

Mr Williams added: “We would like to apologise for any potential inconveniences as a result of the works to the Empress Ballroom. This issue has been forced upon us a result of extreme circumstances and we appreciate the understanding that everyone has shown thus far.

“We have tried to minimise its impact as the other alternative was to close the venue which clearly would be a last resort as we would have had to cancel events which would be disappointing for event organisers and attendees.

“We have developed an excellent programme of events at the Winter Gardens and genuinely do appreciate the fact that promoters continue to hold their events in Blackpool and for the subsequent benefits that this brings not only to the Winter Gardens but also the resort.”