The real cost of Greek singers
Promoters who bring Greek singers to Australia are the subject of backlash from concert goers who claim that ticket and drink prices are too high, however, promoters say that the prices are fair in regards to the overall cost of a tour.
The cost to bring a Greek artist to Australia for a tour is causing promoters to run at a loss, rather than the profit assumed by the public.
At the tour for Panos Kiamos in Melbourne in February 2012, general admission tickets alone were $180 and the drink prices included Johnnie Walker Red for $185, Grey Goose for $240 and a bottle of water on the night cost $10. In response to this, concert goers created the Facebook group ‘Against being ripped off by Greek singers and promoters visiting Australia’ as a place to vent their distress at high ticket prices and drinks.
On Facebook concert goer Toula Orfanou said “maybe our little group has made an impact, Marinella and Theodoridou concert tickets are starting at $149 a table and $69 seated, a massive difference from the ‘normal’ fees”.
However, concert promoter Kosta Tangalakis told Neos Kosmos “9 out of 10 of these shows are unprofitable”. He says fees the entertainer charges, airfares, visas, insurance, accommodation, food allowance per day, venue, lighting and sound hire all amount to a costly tour.
“The expenses are horrific to bring a whole entourage to Australia” says Mr Tangalakis, and the cost per person exceeds well over $200. He said that people who pay under or between $140 to $160 for a concert ticket is undervalued for the promoter, and results in them making no profit on their return.
Promoters who spoke to Neos Kosmos claim that money is made from selling out the first three rows of a show, and from the fourth row back it runs at a loss and that prices are already lowered in order to get people attending the shows.
“Anything after the third row costs us money so we then depend on the sales of drinks and flowers to cover costs. I however charge my drink prices the same as I do at Kinisi [a popular Greek venue in Melbourne],” Mr Tangalakis said.
The gamble promoters take is the possibility of not selling out a show. Bringing a show from Greece doesn’t guarantee success. If it’s a big name show chances are promoters will break even or make a slight profit tour promoter, Kosta Athanasiou said.
Promoters claim that their first objective of bringing a show from Greece is to get their money back so that they don’t make a loss. “As a promoter I don’t wake up in the morning and think how I am going to rip off the greater public” said Nikos Theodorakopoulos.
“This isn’t a charity, it is a business and like any business profit needs to be made” Mr Tangalakis said.
However a promoter in Sydney who remains unnamed said they haven’t suffered the backlash that Melbourne’s promoters have, their aim is to keep the prices as affordable as possible for every singer that comes to Australia.
Gogos Entertainment, who recently toured George Dalaras and Haris Alexiou say they rely on ticket sales only to promote their tours, “the shows we promote are concerts held in theatres rather than cabaret or bouzoukia venues, therefore we need higher ticket prices are part of the solution, but getting a lot of people to attend these shows is the real solution. It is a hard industry to work in and harder to keep everyone happy” said Director and Publisher of this newspaper, Christopher Gogos.
Another issue faced in the industry is the increase of promoters, which has seen more singers heading to Australia, making it harder for concert goers to pick who they will see and who they won’t. “It should be seen as a positive that so many singers are coming to Australia and keeping the Greek scene alive” says Nick Theodorakopoulos, who recently promoted the Ploutarhos tour.
Mr Theodorakopoulos told Neos Kosmos, “this industry is open for anyone to take part in and bring singers down. If others can put on a concert cheaper then what we are currently offering, why don’t they”.
In the last couple of years promoters are claiming that they are running at a loss due to the lowering of ticket prices. With increasing costs and fees, it’s a wonder how promoters still manage and want to keep bringing singers down.
However, lovers of Greek music all over Australia are still attending these tours, a positive sign that live Greek music will live on in the main capital cities and promoters will continue to entertain us with the Greek singers they bring to our shores.