Students were left disappointed after James Blake’s perceived “no-show” gig last weekend, but Cherwell can reveal that the critically acclaimed Dubstep artist was in fact never booked in the first place.
Flyers and the Facebook event page clearly advertised Blake as a special guest at the top of the bill at the club night called ‘Meditate’, held at The Bullingdon Arms last Saturday. But when Cherwell contacted Lucy Dickins, Blake’s agent, she said that Blake had never been booked to play.
The night’s promoter, second year Teddy Hall student Noor Rashid, was responsible for organising the event, which included booking the acts and the venue, as well as advertising and selling tickets for the night. He charged £20 for a standard price ticket, or £11 online for ‘early bird’ tickets for the event.
When contacted by Cherwell, Rashid declined to comment.
Cherwell spoke to Dickins, Blake’s current agent at International Talent Booking (ITB) as well as his previous agency, Reprise, and both said that Blake was never booked to play at the Bullingdon Arms.
A spokesperson at Reprise said, “I had contact with Rashid about the possibility of booking James but we never even agreed a fee, let alone a booking.
“If he’s claiming that Blake was supposed to play in Oxford last week, that’s completely false.”
Dickins said, “James was certainly not booked to play the Bullingdon in Oxford. I have never had a contact with anyone under the name of Noor Rashid.
“This is disappointing for his fans but I must re-iterate that James was never booked to play this night so is in no way responsible.”
Students who attended the event thought that Blake would be playing between 12 and 1am. However, by the night’s close at 3am Blake had still not appeared.
Suspicion about the real reason for Blake’s no-show was aroused when the Facebook event page was completely deleted on Sunday morning, which led some to believe that Blake was never actually booked to perform, a fact clarified by Cherwell yesterday.
On hearing that Blake was never booked for the event, Kevin Ferriter, a second year at St John’s, said, “At first I was angry at Blake for not turning up and that I’d wasted £20; but if it is the case that he was never booked, then I feel like I’ve been cheated, and now I am angry with the organisers. Without James Blake, it was just an average night with varying qualities of dub and drum and bass music.”
Ferriter continued, “I had invited some of my friends from home, and they came… especially for this event, so it was all a wasted trip.”
A full-time promoter in Oxford, who asked not to be named, contacted Cherwell about Saturday’s event. He expla
ined that he was suspicious of the booking as soon as he heard about it.
“There was no information about a Blake gig or DJ set in Oxford on any of his official websites, and I should know because I’ve been trying to book him for a while.
“James Blake was clearly advertised as being at the top of the bill.
Given his current stature I would suggest that he has five times more selling power than the rest of the Meditate bill put together.
“I’m sure you’re aware of the level of radio play he has been receiving in recent weeks, far in excess of the other artists. Customers would invariably be buying tickets to the artist in question and not the ‘Meditate’ event as a whole.”
Widget White of the Bullingdon Arms said, “We’ve had lots of complaints about people wanting their money back but it’s nothing to do with us: Rashid just hired out the room from us.
“We’re pretty pissed off ourselves that people paid £20 for a pretty average night. It was the first night Rashid had ever promoted [at The Bullingdon Arms], and we’ll never be having him back.
“If people want their money back then they should get in touch with Rashid, or if they paid for the early bird tickets online, We Got Tickets.”
Oscar Harry, a student at Cambridge, had come all the way to Oxford for the night. He said, “As a James Blake fan I am bitterly disappointed. £11 is quite a steep price for a night of lacklustre drum and bass.
I took a long coach journey from Cambridge and had to travel through Milton Keynes – do you know how horrible that is?”
James Grant, a second year Historian at Queen’s commented, “I’m shocked and appalled.”
‘Meditate’ is a new event, which advertises itself as “championing a very unique style of music”.