Message Blames Local Promoter for Cohen Cancellation

An e-mail purportedly from the manager of Leonard Cohen has blamed the misrepresentations and inexperience of local promoter Mekong Sessions for the cancellation of the singer-songwriter’s Nov 27 concert in Phnom Penh.

The e-mail message from Mr Cohen’s manager Robert Kory was posted Wednesday on an Internet forum available on the official website of Mr Cohen. Mr Kory, did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request to confirm its authenticity.

The e-mail said the “local promoter is inexperienced, and failed to account properly for the cost in presenting the concert in such a remote location.”

It adds, “What took me so long to discover these matters? The local promoter was less than forthcoming, and AEG Live became so emotionally committed to seeing the historic concert happen that they failed in their oversight duties.”

The e-mail said the local promoter eventually stopped returning the calls of AEG live, Mr Cohen’s international tour manager.

In the e-mail, Mr Kory apologized for his “failure to foresee the disaster that led to cancellation of the Cambodian concert,” and said he and Mr Cohen would make a donation to a Cambodian charity from revenues earned in Australia.

Mekong Sessions announced at the beginning of the month that Mr Cohen’s concert, which was billed as a charity event, had been indefinitely delayed and that tickets would be refunded.

Mekong Sessions Executive Director Christopher Minko had defended ticket prices, which started at about $300. Mr Minko yesterday rejected the accusations in the purported e-mail from Mr Kory, saying he had written to Mr Kory for “clarification,” which he had yet to receive.

“I categorically reject both statements of Mr Kory’s as I have very successfully organized Australia’s largest outdoor events,” he wrote yesterday, claiming he had helped to organized the Moomba festival in Melbourne and concerts in the 1980s that included performers such as INXS.

Mr Minko said yesterday that “slow ticket sales” was the “core reason for cancellation” of the show, although he had initially cited production issues. But he also pointed to a “massive production costs increase due to lack of cooperation from [Thailand]-based production manager.”

Mr Minko thanked Mr Cohen for his “positive input” and added, “We retain our hope that Mr Cohen will grace the stage in Cambodia in the future.”

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