Last Saturday, many north Texans wandered out of their icy prisons to walk, drive, bike, and slide to Denton to catch iconic party animal Andrew W.K. at Hailey’s. I joined a cautious herd of friends and colleagues headed to the show for a few hours of escape from the frightful weather.
Starting in late November, event organizer Bryan Walior had published upwards of 30 promotional posts on his personal Facebook page, ensuring that the party will be a blast, and he continued to do so until approximately 9:13 p.m. the night of the show, stating, “Andrew W.K. Is in Texas and hauling it to Haileys as we speak. [sic]”
Nearly 3 hours later, just past midnight, Andrew W.K. posted the following tweet:
WOW! Finally made it to Texas. 4 flights to finally get through Dallas to Austin, but I partied! Moving Denton to Tuesday! More soon!
— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) December 8, 2013
And, back at Hailey’s, around 1 a.m. when attendees were anxiously awaiting W.K. to take the stage, this video was aired.
This would not be the first time that a video greeting from a headliner would be used to apologize for a missed performance in Denton. However, this time, the video was not aired days in advance; it was aired during the set time, and several audience members had no idea about the cancellation until that moment.
This would also not be the first time that the venue in question would mismanage a highly-promoted line-up with mass appeal. I spoke with Walior, the booking agent in charge of Saturday’s event, but was told that the conversation was to remain off-the-record.
But the big question is this: if Andrew W.K. was still on an airplane at the time doors opened, and the local news was bombarded with images of cars stranded on Interstate 35-East for hours on end, why wouldn’t the event organizers issue an apology and reschedule prior to customers arriving and paying for their entry? The door price was $20 a ticket, which is a small fortune in the Denton show economy.
Alex Meswarb, a Carrollton resident, made the treacherous drive north for the show under the impression that Andrew W.K. was going to be there.
“The fact that [rumors said] there’d be no refunds because the show was going on led to a lot of people driving in the incredibly dangerous weather that otherwise probably would not have,” he said. “I wonder if anyone got in wrecks as a result of going. There were some people we were talking with that came from Dallas. There were some people that were going to come from Oklahoma too, but I think they played it safe.”
After speaking with Andrew W.K.’s manager, Peter Galli, it’s safe to say that no fingers should be pointed at the artist himself.
“He had a direct flight from New York to Dallas, and it was canceled,” Galli said. After a couple of layovers in Detroit and Atlanta, W.K. was able to land in Austin around 9 or 10 p.m., at which point he attempted to drive north to Denton.
“[W.K.] said they almost got sideswiped, and they were only driving around 20 or 30 miles per hour, so they had to call and reschedule the show,” he said.
The number of musicians willing to navigate across icy highways for a gig in Denton is relatively low. Even the punk show at J&J’s the night prior had a skeletal line-up compared to what was promised. The unpredictability of nature put a damper on an already cold evening, but W.K. will return tomorrow night to make up for it.
This morning, there was some residual buzz among attendees, upset that they weren’t offered further information regarding refunds. Prekindle, a Dallas-based company that runs ticketing for several notable venues, provided the online ordering for Saturday’s show. Tiffany Swulius, who handles customer support at the company, offered the following information this morning via phone:
“As of right now, our policy is that we refund if the headliner cancels. An hour before the show, the performer contacted Hailey’s and canceled. As it stands right now, we will issue refunds on a case-by-case basis.”
This means that if you purchased your tickets via Prekindle and would like a refund, you can send them an email at [email protected].
If you purchased your tickets at the door, however, the status on refunds is still unknown. After a few phone calls to Hailey’s – whose voicemail inbox is full, by the way – and Dusty’s, looking to speak to venue owner Jennifer Gibbs, I was left with no statements and no further contact information. FrontRow will update as necessary.
For now, if you believe in second chances, you can visit Hailey’s tomorrow night for the make-up performance. An announcement posted to Andrew W.K.’s website confirms the following:
“All ticket stubs, online tickets. and will call tickets that were previously purchased will be honored. Anyone who paid at the door Saturday night was given a stamped ticket to return with on Tuesday.”
I purchased my tickets at the door, and was not provided the aforementioned stamped tickets, so here’s hoping that no one who paid on Saturday is turned away tomorrow. Opening acts slated at this time are Tarim, Cerulean Giallo, and DJ Questionmark.
Photo: Andrew W.K., photographed by Andrew Strasser.