Daily Princetonian, April 1, 1987

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Costello will not play at P-Party;
conflict over contract terms cited

E.B. Boyd

Elvis Costello will not be playing at the P-Party, USG Social Chairman Liz Marsh '89 said.

Although Costello had originally accepted the USG's bid to play at Princeton, he declined to sign the contract when he was informed that the P-Party was a dance party, not a concert, Marsh said. The decision not to play was made over Spring Break, she added.

In a letter to the Prince, the USG Major Attractions Committee said Costello had not understood that the P-Party "is traditionally a loud, exciting, end-of-the-year dance party." When the nature of the party was made clear to him, the letter said Costello decided not to perform.

"He was really reluctant to play a show where people had been drinking," Marsh said, "even if it was just a few seniors."

"He wanted an 'Elvis Costello concert,' " USG President Don Lu '88 said.

Marsh said the USG was not responsible for the misunderstanding. "It's up to the agent to fully communicate with the artists," she said.

Marc Gentilella, president of Flashgroup Corporation, the talent management agency responsible for booking Costello, "had full knowledge of the show," Marsh said. "Every time we place a bid, we tell (the agents) that it's a dance concert with festival seating," she added.

Gentilella, however, said the Major Attractions Committee requested to withdraw their bid for Costello when they realized the singer wanted to play a normal concert, requiring the USG to provide at least 3,000 chairs for the audience.

"They were very thankful that we let them out of it," he said.

Members of the USG, however, contend that the decision not to formalize the contract was entirely Costello's.

"We submitted a verbal bid which is legally binding for us (but not for the artist)," Marsh said. "It wasn't our position to say we don't want him."

Lu said the USG would not have refused Costello because canceling the show would have dashed student hopes which had been raised by a March 12 article in the Prince.

Lu added that the committee had not understood that Costello would be playing solo acoustic guitar when it had originally placed its bid. "There were reservations when we found out he would be playing without his band," he said.

The USG was legally bound by its bid, however, and thus did not try to withdraw from the agreement, according to Marsh. "The whole time we were pursuing it actively," Lu said.

Gentilella said Flashgroup allowed the committee to back out of its commitment because another school, Lafayette College, had placed a bid for the same date, April 30.

Lu said this was not the first time this year that a performer has accepted a USG bid and then declined to sign a contract. "This is rather common," he said.

According to Marsh, three artists have given verbal confirmation but not signed contracts. She did not specify the names of the artists.

Members of the USG committee said they were disappointed that Costello would not play at the P-Party because of the work that had gone into securing his performance. Committee members expressed concern that Costello's name had been released before a contract had been signed.

Marsh said the Major Attractions Committee is continuing to place bids with performers.


Daily Princetonian, March 12, 1987

E.B. Boyd reports that EC will not be playing Princeton on the 1987 tour.

The Major Attractions Committee also addresses the issue on the letters page.


1987-04-01 Daily Princetonian page 01 clipping 01.jpg

Costello canceled

The Major Attractions Committee

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To the Chairman:

Per the front page article of the Princetonian (Mar. 12), we wish to announce that Elvis Costello will not be performing at the P-Party.

As mentioned in the article, no contract had been signed, but only a bid was accepted. After Mr. Costello accepted the bid, he informed us of certain stipulations. Costello requested that chairs be installed in Jadwin Gym in order to promote a "sit-down" concert.

He also informed us that he was to perform solo without a back-up band. Additionally, Costello wanted to play an acoustic guitar (that is, a regular guitar) throughout the show.

After Costello accepted the bid, his agent clarified to him the nature of P-Party. Mr. Costello decided he did not want to perform at a function that is traditionally a loud, exciting, end-of-the-year dance party.

He wanted the audience to be attentive to the show and consequently he felt that Jadwin gym and the traditional P-Party atmosphere would not be appropriate for his concert. The nature of P-Party ran contrary to the ambience he wanted for his show. Therefore he did not sign the contract.

We, however, wish to indicate that it was not our intention to have the Princetonian print the initial article. The Major Attractions Committee did not come to the Prince with the story, rather the newspaper came to us after finding out themselves through different off-campus sources.

The Prince stated that it knew of the bid's acceptance and wanted details for an article. Rather than risking an article that did not clearly represent the situation, we reluctantly related details with the repeated warning that the contract had not been inked.

Prior to our disclosing of information, we made requests to postpone the article until after the contract was signed, but to no avail. We have submitted this to the editorial page in order to clearly communicate what had happened concerning the P-Party.

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Page scans and clipping.


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