Charity comedy show ticket sales undermined by Fairfield

Charity workers in Croydon are worried that they have been caught in the cross-fire between the Fairfield Halls and the Town Hall in the bitter dispute over the arts venue’s future, with what ought to be one of the borough’s biggest fund-raising events of the year likely to miss its targets for good causes by tens of thousands of pounds.

Comedian Kevin Day. Photograph by Steve Ullathorne

Comedian Kevin Day. Photograph by Steve Ullathorne

Kevin Day, the Crystal Palace-supporting comedian, script-writer and Match of the Day 2 presenter, has spent more than a year working on producing Sunday night’s charity comedy night at the Fairfield Halls for the Mayor of Croydon’s nominated charities.

For 2015-2016, these are Mind in Croydon and London homelessness cause CAYSH.

Day has managed to compile an outstanding line-up of some of the country’s top stand-up acts, including Reginald D Hunter, Seann Walsh and Jon Richardson.

And Mark Steel.

But by lunchtime today, fewer than 400 seats in the 1,800-capacity Fairfield Halls main concert hall had been sold.

Charity workers and sources at the council have been suggesting that the management at the Halls have deliberately under-sold the event.

With seats costing £30 a time, that could end up seeing the charities miss out on raising more than £25,000 in unsold tickets.

“Kevin Day put this show together as he’s a long time supporter,” one charity worker told Inside Croydon, “and it has taken a couple of years and calling in a few favours on his part.

“Sadly we’ve had no support in selling tickets from Fairfield. The event isn’t even on their billboard outside the venue.”

Reginald D Hunter: one of Sunday's headline acts

Reginald D Hunter: one of Sunday’s headline acts

Neither Kevin Day nor the Mayor of Croydon, Patricia Hay-Justice, were prepared to comment ahead of Sunday’s event.

But a Town Hall source did accuse the Fairfield Halls of behaving in an “unprofessional and petulant” manner earlier this week.

“That it has been allowed to happen at all demonstrates a failure of the senior management,” they said.

Croydon Council owns the Fairfield Halls, on behalf of local people, and leases it to Fairfield (Croydon) Ltd, which is run as a charity and operates the venue’s concert hall, Ashcroft Theatre and Arnhem Gallery.

The Halls is due to close in July for two years while a £30 million refurbishment, paid for by the council, is carried out on the 54-year-old arts venue. The closure will see around 150 staff made redundant, and has seen many staff lobby for a phased redevelopment, which would cost the local tax-payer an additional £5 million.

Last week, Kate Vennell, the chair of the Fairfield charity board, said, “The discussion about phasing is no longer a useful one.”

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13 Responses to Charity comedy show ticket sales undermined by Fairfield

  1. farmersboy says:

    Tickets still available and then you don’t have to be one of those people who pretends/wishes they were there.

  2. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    Trouble in Paradise?

  3. davidjl2014 says:

    What with the forthcoming Job Fair being held at Fairfield, (with all the staff being made redundant) this event becomes even more ridiculous. If the Mayor honestly believes that her nominated charity could actually succeed in making an event like this work, in the doom and gloom that surrounds Fairfield, then she must also believe that she knows how to Chair Council Meetings!
    Solution: Give Brother Newman a stand-up slot about the achievements of his Labour Council. It will bring the house down.

    • farmersboy says:

      How the job fair is related to this I don’t know. That’s like saying the panto didn’t sell out because motorhead are on next week

      • davidjl2014 says:

        It’s actually being held at the same venue in case you hadn’t noticed. I don’t think the staff that have worked there for years and employed by the Council that the Mayor represents, have much to laugh about at the moment. Do you?

    • Duona says:

      Would you like to eat your words now David ..or your hat maybe?
      The Comedy event was a success through the hard work and sheer determination of the Mayor and the Charity Committee, the Star comedians who gave up their time, the brilliant people of Croydon who support good causes, and not least the amazing staff at Fairfield.
      I hope after the refurbishment the FairField Halls has new management with a better attitude to their staff & the community, an attitude that doesn’t try to undermine a massive investment in the future of FairField and doesn’t involve an unholy alliance with a political party..

  4. mraemiller says:

    Promoter blames everything and everyone else for not selling tickets shock.

    There’s too many charity gigs anyway …

    • You’re just put out that you’re not involved in promoting it, and not funny enough to be on the line-up.

    • farmersboy says:

      Too many charity gigs? I haven’t got the Fairfield play list to hand so perhaps you could enlighten me? The last charity gig I attended there was barwell’s election launch party back in 2015. We probably sat near each other – I was the bloke at the back they kept offering orange juice to instead of the microphone

      • mraemiller says:

        Well, there are a lot of charity gigs about and I think they are in competition with each other. No criticism of this particular gig but there’s no way of knowing in all cases that all the money goes to where it is supposed to either because the lack of a system is pretty unregulated and relies largely on trust. Also the ticket price is very high. I’m not saying it’s not value for money but are there really 18000 with a spare £30 in Croydon. 400 tickets sold is not bad … The problem is Croydon has no mid-sized venue … But we’ve said all this before

        • farmersboy says:

          Frankie Boyle was more than that last month. Jimmy Carr is more and we definitely don’t know where that money goes. Most people who attend charity gigs aren’t there because of the cause they are there because of who’s performing. In this case the money very definitely stays in South London as the charities involved are geographical

    • farmersboy says:

      I’m confused now, sorry for not knowing how the relationship between venue and promoter works, so I have to ask a stupid question. If it’s the mayor’s event she has to go and put her own billboard up and move her event to the front page of the Fairfield website? Is that right, did anyone tell her?

  5. Peter Rogers says:

    The comedy gig was a massive success, obviously the mayor not pasting up her own billboards meant not as much money as possible was raised but everyone there will remember the night for a long time and know a little more about mental health and youth homelessness in Croydon

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