Cohen concert delayed, tickets to be refunded

So long, Leonard Cohen-even if only for a while.

The planned Nov 27 concert in Phnom Penh of the “poet laureate of pessimism” has been indefinitely delayed due to production issues, local promoter Mekong Sessions announced yesterday in a statement.

Mr Cohen’s concert “has been postponed to a date to be announced,” the statement said, adding that the Mekong Sessions would work to “ensure the concert goes ahead” at the end of Mr Cohen’s 2010 world tour.

All ticket holders “will receive full refunds,” the statement said.

Christopher Minko, executive director of the Mekong Sessions, said in e-mails yesterday that the “concert is postponed, not canceled” and that a new date would be announced as soon as possible.

He attributed the delay to “non-availability of equipment in Cambodia and lack of cooperation with regional suppliers,” and also cited “the realities of a small venue and the subsequent ticket pricing issues.”

He declined to reveal ticket sales, citing contractual agreements, but said an advertising campaign in Southeast Asia had led to “significant sales within the region.”

Mr Minko also said that Mr Cohen would make a “significant humanitarian donation” to the Cambodian Red Cross and the Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled), of which Mr Minko is secretary-general.

Tickets for Mr Cohen’s scheduled Nov 27 performance at Olympic Stadium went on sale on July 10 beginning at $282.50 plus booking fees.

The ticket prices were defended at the time by Mr Minko, who said proceeds would go to charitable causes and to refurbish the iconic stadium, as well as to support the next performance in a planned concert series.

Mr Cohen’s scheduled stop in Phnom Penh on his current world tour was still on the singer-songwriter’s website yesterday, and his manager, Robert Kory, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In June e-mails, Mr Kory said that the famed Mr Cohen is an ordained Buddhist monk and thus has an “affinity” for Cambodia. He also said Mr Cohen wanted to make the concert “very memorable.”


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