Eurofans left in the lurch as Eurovision Convention is cancelled amid claims of bank fraud, security threats and unsigned contracts

40

It was set to be the Eurovision fan-event of the year, boasting an unbelievable line-up of song contest favourites spread across two days of performances, sightseeing tours and meet & greet sessions. Sadly, the bubble popped in a most dramatic fashion on Thursday, as organisers pulled the plug on ECON — Eurovision Convention 2017.

Scheduled to take place on 9 and 10 September in the German city of Frankfurt, the inaugural convention was set to play host to more than 40 acts. By comparison, this year’s Setúbal’s Eurovision Live Concert — traditionally one of the biggest non-preview party concerts — features eight performers.

Eurovision Live Concert 2017: Setubal confirms acts including Nathan Trent, Anja Nissen and Timebelle

ECON — Eurovision Convention Line-up

Based on ECON’s Facebook posts and the cached version of its website, all of the following acts were advertised as attending at some point. It would seem that many artists were “confirmed” before contracts were actually finalised and signed, meaning the line-up remained in constant flux.

  1. Sandra Kim (Belgium 1986) — Winner
  2. Ruslana (Ukraine 2004) – Winner
  3. Zoë Straub (Austria 2016)
  4. Valentina Monetta (San Marino 2012-2014 and 2017)
  5. Hera Björk (Iceland 2010)
  6. Hovi Star (Israel 2016)
  7. Maggie MacNeal (Netherlands 1980)
  8. Marga Bult (Netherlands 1987)
  9. Donny Montell (Lithuania 2012 and 2016)
  10. Chiara (Malta 1998, 2005, and 2009)
  11. Anne Marie David (Luxembourg 1973 and France 1979) – Winner
  12. Ira Losco Malta (2002 and 2016)
  13. Siw Malmkvist (Sweden 1960 and Germany 1969)
  14. Olsen Brothers (Denmark 2000) – Winner
  15. Lena Valaitis (Germany 1981)
  16. Ireen Sheer (Germany 1978)
  17. Wind Germany (1985, 1987, and 1992)
  18. Lou (Germany 2003)
  19. Ingrid Peters (Germany 1986)
  20. Cindy Berger (Germany 1974)
  21. Bianca Shomburg (Germany 1997)
  22. Linda G. Thompson (Germany NF 1979 and 1981)
  23. Lys Assia Switzerland (1956, 1957, and 1958) – Winner
  24. Anabel Conde (Spain 1995)
  25. Charlotte Perrelli (Sweden 1999 and 2008) – Winner
  26. Loreen (Sweden 2012) – Winner
  27. Barei (Spain 2016)
  28. Poli Genova (Bulgaria 2011 and 2016)
  29. Tom Dice (Belgium 2010)
  30. Bobbysocks (Norway 1985) – Winner
  31. Ruth Lorenzo (Spain 2014)
  32. Vânia Fernandes (Portugal 2008)
  33. Filipa Sousa (Portugal 2012)
  34. Bojana Stamenov (Serbia 2015)
  35. Jedward Ireland (2011 and 2012)
  36. Sinplus (Switzerland 2012)
  37. Cascada (Germany 2013)
  38. Elaiza (Germany 2014)
  39. Isaiah (Australia 2017)
  40. Dominique Dussault (Malta 1970)
  41. Linda Martin (Ireland 1984 and 1992) – Winner
  42. Bucks Fizz/The Fizz (UK 1981) – Winner
  43. Alexander Rybak (Norway 2009) – Winner
  44. Ryan Dolan (Ireland 2013)
  45. Charlie McGettigan and Paul Harrington (Ireland 1994) – Winner
  46. Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014) – Winner
  47. Dami Im (Australia 2016)

Unsurprisingly, eager Eurofans jumped at the opportunity to be part of such a seemingly fantastic occasion, forking out on tickets (up to €160), travel and accommodation. And now, they’re all in a state of limbo.

ECON — Eurovision Convention Cancelled

Taking to the event’s official Facebook page, the promoters left a lengthy message as to why they’d called everything off.

Dear ECON friends and visitors,

The organizer of the ECON has not recognized financial problems over a long period of time and has not publicly published them. Financial bottlenecks have not been communicated to the artists and their management, thus causing irreparable damage. Contracts were signed and could not be observed.

Contracts with the management of Cascada and Conchita as well as SR Management and associated Giovanni Zarella and Lilly Becker as well as David Pfefferle were not settled after accounting and still accepted and with false payment documents proved.

Financially, we underestimated this event and pulled the “pull-rope” much too late. After all what happened especially after the financial funds were stolen from the account we should have had to stop. Personally, we can not apologize or justify this, it is only clear as a big mistake, especially since here a great damage with great Eurovision artists emerged and emerged.

After we had to change the first location we had found the Alte Oper in Frankfurt as a place and also announced. This was however not booked, also not directly at the Old Opera House in Frankfurt. We had booked this over an internet platform, which provides rooms and books. These we had claimed until yesterday we were informed by the opera that this is not correct. Here we never wanted to have to deceive someone but admit that this location has never been booked for us !! The whole is fraudulent, however, was never in our intention and is no excuse.

After the personal threats against us and the event itself, we have to cancel the event for all parties and after long discussions with official authorities, friends and the team. We want to defuse the financial situation and prevent further problems.

Security is also a high priority. We deeply regret this and apologize to all visitors, artists and their management, friends and helpers.

Important for all card buyers. As happened with other buyers, we also refund the buyed tickets without regret. However, this will take a moment, as our insurance will be here. Please send us a message to info@eurovision-convention.com
This should contain:
ticket number
order date
How to get the refund (PayPal or bank transfer)
We also will informe all ticket buyer by Mail.

Eurovision Convention Ransom Notes

The text is accompanied by an image of a pointing finger labelled “please notice this”, and three ransom style notes which translate as “Is that event safe enough? When you get into the car. Death, alive and dying. Can you live with that?”. The authenticity of the notes is unknown.

Financial problems, contracts, security… that’s a lot to take in. To get a better grasp of the situation, let’s rewind the clock right back to the very beginning.

ECON — Eurovision Convention: Timeline of events

Note: This timeline is based on information gleaned from the event’s Facebook page on Friday 18 August. It does not account for posts which were previously or subsequently deleted.

  • 26 May 2016: First known activity on the page.
  • 17 September: Location announced as the Das Kap Europa conference centre. Ticket sales due to go on sale within one week.
  • 23 November: Claimed to have booked over 35 acts. Fully-seated concert scheduled to last for over four hours.
  • 27 November: Revealed that the event would have an official anthem recorded by S*A*M*E Rapcore.
  • 1 December: Saturday sightseeing tour sold out.
  • 26 December: Confirmed separate tickets required for meet & greets and concert.
  • 1 February 2017: Official song “Music Unites” published online.
  • 14 March: Lilly Becker (wife of Boris) and Giovanni Zarella announced as concert hosts, while David Pepper (X Factor Germany Winner 2011) and Kathy Herrmann (Swiss model and MTV presenter) would oversee the meet & greet sessions.
  • 17 March: Sunday tour sold out
  • 22 March: Announced that an Irish act had pulled out. It’s unclear which performer they were referring to, although they assure fans that it’s not Jedward.
  • 9 May: Organisers publish a note assuring fans that the event will take place. Apparently there are rumours suggesting otherwise…
    • Dear Eurovision Fans, Dear Ticket Buyers, Currently, there are rumors that our event will not take place. We would like to hereby clearly speak agains that rumor !! The event is secured by sponsors and contracts are signed with the artists..Even though we were chopped as well as our bancacount we have a financial security and nothing can happen. The contracts are signed with sponsors and artists even if the artist do nott published that. This is a decision of them yourself!
  • 21 July: Another note. And now it’s time to sound the alarm! Organisers allege that their bank accounts have not just been looted, but looted illegally! As a result, payment obligations are missed resulting in changes to the lineup and venue.
    • Dear Ticketkäufer, As we have recently described, our accounts have been looted and looted illegally. For this reason, we could not meet a few payment obligations, which led to changes in our artists and the location. However, these are removed and we are going to continue to implement our econ. A corresponding bank confirmation is also reported to the police. This can be requested by mail. Please understand that we are not going to publish these sensitive data here!Due to the increased demand for the concert, but a lower demand for the day and wochentickets, we have been looking for a new location for both. We learn from mistakes, so we will only announce it when the venue allows us to do so and announce the event on its site. This will happen in the next 2 weeks. All tickets purchased so far remain valid.Warm greetings, Your Econ – team
  • Soon after, they share yet another update.
    • Dear ECON Fans, Dear Ticket Buyers, As already described, our accounts were hacked and money illegally plundered. For this reason, we were unable to meet a few payment commitments, which led to changes in our artist set-up and location. These are however eliminated and we go into the further implementation of our ECON.A corresponding bank confirmation is availabe also a message to the police. This can be requested by e-mail. Please understand that we will not publish these sensitive data here!Due to the increased demand for the concert, but a lower demand for day and week tickets, we have looked for a new location for both. We learn from mistakes, so we will announce them only if the venue allows us to do so and announce the event on there site. This will happen in the next 2 weeks. All purchased tickets remain valid. Best regards, ECON-Team
  • 25 July: The Olsens and Elaiza quit.
  • 10 August: Fans urged to get their tickets fast, and that only a few are available online.
  • 15 August: Cascada removed from the bill. The following reason is given.
    • Dear Econ visitor. Please note that Cascada will not participate at our ECON . The Management of Cascada has met us several times and has made it possible for us to fulfil our contractual obligations later. Unfortunately, we were unable to comply with this and do not fulfil our obligations in time and in full. So the artist himself is not to blame. This mistake is only with us. We would like to thank and apologize in all forms with the artist and the management. Important for all Ticket buyers. Of course, we will refund all ticket buyers the price of there tickets if you have purchased your tickets exclusively because of Cascada, please send us a message to Info@eurovision-convention.com
  • However, Cascada’s team paint a rather different story on the group’s official Facebook page (via translate)
    • Dear Cascada fans, due to a current event cancellation at 09.09.2017 & 10.09.2017 in Frankfurt of a promoter, we would like to ask you to buy tickets, where we also refer to the social networks! In the Frankfurt Case, there will probably not be any repayments (more still being promoted artists will not occur there) / (legal consequences are initiated here). We would like to ask you to communicate this urgently!!! Thanks to the cascada mgmt.
  • Amidst the Cascada drama, ECON backtracks on the Elaiza withdrawal. They write:
    • Due to a great misunderstanding and the omission of a commitment, we mistakenly assumed that Elaiza had resigned from their appearance. After the management contacted us again we could eliminate this misunderstanding from our side. Elaiza have never withdrawn from there appearance. Therefore, we can tell all fans with pleasure the Elaiza will sing on our ECON as well as write autograms. Meet and greets, autograph sessions, concert, sight seeing tour.
  • 17 August: ECON — Eurovision Convention is cancelled.

What now?

What may be a juicy scandal for most of us, is actually now a major headache for fans who spent money on the event in good faith. Promoters say that they will refund the price of tickets. The ECON team also claims that their insurance policy will cover any travel and accommodation costs incurred.

While wonderful if true, a quick search on Google suggests otherwise. For instance, when Adele cancelled a series of dates in London recently, fans only received refunds on the face value of their tickets. They weren’t entitled to any compensation for transport or accommodation expenses.

And it’s not just fans who look set to lose out. A number of acts were all set to go, with Chiara, Charlotte Perrelli and Hera Bjork recording short video greetings for the organisation’s YouTube channel.

At this point, it’s not altogether clear who is behind ECON and responsible for the mess. The official website has been wiped, although a cached version remains accessible. However, some digging on Facebook does point us toward one individual in particular. Other team members appear to have been involved on a voluntary basis.

Were you due to go to ECON? What do you plan to do now? Share your story with us below.