When Community Beer Works wanted to sponsor an event at Larkinville for fans of the Tragically Hip to watch the broadcast from Canada of what is expected to be the band’s final concert, fans cheered the idea and then showed up in droves Saturday night.
But the cheering stopped amid complaints of poor audio quality, bad customer service and the broadcast ending before the show was over.
As a result, CBW has issued an apology and will refund money to unhappy fans.
“For those who didn’t have a good time – and there were many – we’ve offered a refund of their donation,” said Chris Smith, co-founder and vice president of CBW. “We love the band and we wanted to find a way to say goodbye. The music is part of who we are. We wanted to create a moment to share with as many Hip fans as we could, never with the intent of making money. We are heartbroken – we wanted to share in the moment, too.
To get a refund, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All proceeds from the $10 ticket were earmarked for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, and Smith said CBW will replace any money lost to the fund because of ticket refunds. Downie, the Hip’s lead singer, has terminal brain cancer.
“We understand people weren’t buying a ticket, they were making a donation. Since the experience wasn’t so pleasant, we want to make that right,” he said.
Some of the people who attended the event Saturday took to social media, including Facebook, to complain about CBW.
“Tonight’s show of Tragically Hip show total joke no sound, 45 min wait for beer,” one commenter said. “All these companies to promote there last show, and no respect to the fans or artist.”
“I ended up leaving in the middle of the show. … You were not prepared for the event,” said another.
Other attendees were more charitable in their assessment of what happened.
“It’s very easy to criticize other people. I find it cowardly sometimes. Anyone who asks for a refund on the $10 tickets is making the wrong decision. It was a huge undertaking for CBW. Thank you for doing it.”