By Beatrice Fitzmaurice, Third Year English Literature
I am sure many of us have been disappointed multiple times throughout 2020 and 2021 from event cancellations due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, particularly with removal of restrictions in England since Thursday (24th December), I had anticipated less disappointment pending.
The Libertines performance at the Bristol O2 Academy had already been rescheduled from 13th December due to the increase in Coronavirus cases leading up to and during the Christmas period. Naturally then, many fans were excited to finally see the band perform live on the rescheduled date of 24th February. Yet again however, fans were let down as the gig was cancelled 30 minutes before the group were meant to come on stage.
The last-minute decision left many angry and confused. Little was known by venue staff as the doormen explained the situation vaguely as “all we’ve been told is that the performance is off due to illness” to those who were just arriving. Speaking to supporters outside the venue, some had been waiting an hour through the support bands with the intention of having a good spot for the main act. With plastic cupped pints in hand, fans streamed out of the venue and crowded the streets. Many stormed away, some filed into or queued for The Hatchet Inn, while others stood against the walls, perplexed over the situation – still hovering around in some hope that it may be revived. One fan was overheard saying “let’s wait in case Pete comes out”.
People were searching online for any further information, but it was not until a post on Instagram and Facebook, thirty minutes after calling the performance off, that revealed Peter Doherty was “diagnosed with a respiratory infection which requires immediate treatment” and had been “advised not to perform tonight under any circumstances”.
Many were sensitive to Pete’s condition, leaving comments of condolence for him and the band members. Yet others voiced their anger at the last-minute nature of the cancellation, arguing they were told something different on the door to this post…
A post followed with an announcement the following day of the dates and ticket availability for their upcoming “20thAnniversary of ‘Up The Bracket’ Tour” in Europe. A Facebook comment pointed out the irony of this after suggesting how much they had let their fans down in Bristol.
The “unpredictable” nature of the singer’s illness was somewhat questionable since the problem only seemed to arise right before the performance. Furthermore, their most recent post captions “After responding well to treatment overnight, Peter has been allowed to travel…” in response to Londoner’s concerns for the gig at the O2 Forum, confirming it would be going ahead. Apologies were sent out to Bristol fans for the disruption and a thank you for the support, ending sincerely with “Giddy up x”.
How will this affect their Bristol fan-base, however? The Libertines had already played in London for the December dates and concluded the ‘Giddy Up a Ding-Dong Tour’ by returning there. Their popularity may be esteemed in London then but having not been back since 2019, many Bristolians are yet to twist and shout for the ‘Boys in the Band’. Additionally, there has been no information regarding a rescheduled date. With the numerous cancellations of the gig, some are just demanding their money back.
Let’s hope they will giddy up back to Bristol soon…
(Since writing this article, I received an update from O2 Academy Bristol who have emailed:
“This show has been rescheduled to Thursday 30thJune 2022. All tickets remain valid for the rescheduled date. Or refunds from point of purchase”
Unfortunately, many may not be able to attend but let’s hope for those of you who can it will not be rescheduled yet again…)
Featured image: Roger Sargent
Have you seen The Libertines