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Outrageous bidding jacks up cost of pop superstar’s Manila gig

Hanging out at Denny’s Uptown Bonifacio
/ 03:00 AM March 19, 2017

For the past 10 years or so, the talk in music circles is that foreign concerts in the Philippines could cost a lot because local promoters outbid each other to get the nod of the artist’s agent or manager.

For example, if the asking price of a particular foreign artist is $1 million, and a local concert promoter is negotiating the deal, other promoters will send higher bids, like $1.5 million to as high as $2 million.

The artist’s representative will then inform the first promoter if he can match the higher bid; otherwise, he stands to lose the deal.

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Since the promoter naturally doesn’t want to lose money, the higher price of producing a foreign act leads to higher production costs and higher ticket prices.

It is said that this happens mostly in the Philippines, especially if the foreign artist will be performing in Manila for the first time.

But the biggest problem in this bidding war is that some promoters who submit the highest bid are sometimes not really about their offer, which means they are just out to sabotage the deal, or, worse, they don’t have the kind of money they are ostensibly dangling.

This has happened again recently, a source told us, in which bidding for a controversial but hugely popular singer-songwriter reached such an outrageous amount, so as to sour the otherwise cordial relations of the contending bidders.

Worse, the source added that the higher bid came from a promoter who is neck-deep in debt—which would make him scrounge around for money in case he won the bid.

If we assume that representatives of foreign acts take higher bidders at face value, and in the interest of the general public who unnecessarily have to bear the costs through higher ticket prices, here’s a shortlist of legitimate concert promoters in the Philippines: MMI Live, Ovation Productions, Wilbros Live, Pulp Live World.

The rest are either intermediaries (middlemen) or fly-by-night operators.

Shawn Mendes at MOA Arena

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Shawn Mendes, Isabella Pascua —Instagram @shawnmendes

Shawn Mendes, Isabella Pascua —Instagram @shawnmendes

Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes’ Manila concert, originally scheduled last year, was held March 18 at Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.

Tickets were reportedly sold out.

Having arrived on March 16, Mendes had time to chill at the hotel he’s billeted at. He posted on Instagram a selfie with Isabella Pascua, daughter of Rhiza Pascua, whose company, MMI Live, is producing Mendes’ MOA Arena concert.

Isabella, or Bey as her mom calls her, is an honor student in the United States and also a freelance model. She’s in Manila to do a pictorial for a glossy magazine.

Upcoming singer

Now open in Uptown Bonifacio, a new nightlife destination in Taguig, is the popular 24-hour American diner Denny’s. Last year we enjoyed a late-night dinner in one of its branches in California.

A few nights ago we visited Uptown Bonifacio for the first time and were amazed at how swanky the place looks—it felt like being in a First World country.

Hanging out at Denny’s Uptown was Leera Alcazar, an upcoming singer whose recently recorded single, “Mare,” is an emotionally charged declaration of love for another woman. There’s nothing scandalous about the song, Leera says. “Love is universal, and does not discriminate against genders.”

Leera is said to be a compelling performer, and we hope to catch her sing live one of these nights.

Leera Alcazar  —PHOTO BY POCH CONCEPCION

Leera Alcazar —PHOTO BY POCH CONCEPCION

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