Leeds music fans angered as new Leeds Arena snubs local ticket outlets

Local record stores are allocated no tickets for Bruce Springsteen's new opening show

The new Leeds Arena, now due to open with a performance by Bruce Springsteen on July 24, has been accused of neglecting two of the city’s most popular independent record stores.

Both Jumbo Records and Crash Records were allocated a percentage of tickets to sell for the Kaiser Chiefs concert, scheduled for 13 September, but none for the Bruce Springsteen gig.

This morning (February 20), a Facebook group named “Support Jumbo and Crash Records” was set up by Leeds music promoter and festival organiser Ash Kollakowski, and within two hours 4,500 people had joined. Kollakowski explained why he set the group up: “(Leeds Arena) say they do support the shops and they want to support Leeds but by not giving them their tickets for Bruce Springsteen… they’re taking money from Jumbo and Crash and they’re influencing people that are just beginning to go to concerts to getting their tickets online rather than going into a shop.”

Since the group was created, local music fans have been commenting on the news via social media. Michael Stead expressed his support for the Facebook group by posting “Fully behind this, I’ve ALWAYS bought my gig tickets from Crash and Jumbo and that’s not gonna change! Won’t be going to anything at the Arena unless they rethink this ridiculous decision.” Over on Twitter, Sean Stanley (@SchooleofAbuse) wrote “The decision by Leeds Arena not to sell tickets through the independent records shops is embarrassing. Really disappointed by it.”

The manager of Crash Records, Ian De-Whytell was grateful for the support being shown for the record shops and remains hopeful that the Arena’s management will stay true to their commitment to working with the local record stores. “We are actively talking to the management at Leeds Arena to make sure that wherever it’s appropriate, we get allocations… We’ve not got allocations for the Bruce Springsteen event, we’re still not fully sure why that is.”

Tony Watson of SMG Europe, the Arena’s management company was reluctant to comment on the matter. “We’ve no comment,” he said, but added, “You guys at NME will be fully aware we’re an arena running on exactly the same model as any other arena in the world.”

The news that Jumbo and Crash Records did not receive a ticket allocation for The Boss’ July concert comes hot on the heels of Ricky Wilson tweeting that he was “fucked off” with the Arena, now that Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs’ concert is no longer the first to be held at the arena, as originally announced, suggesting that the venue may not be so committed to the local music scene after all. Kollakowski commented: “If what Ricky Wilson said is true… that is indicative of some massive problems (for the arena) around the corner. I feel sorry for Ricky, but, being a promoter, Bruce Springsteen? If you’re offered Bruce Springsteen, you’re not gonna turn it down.”