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Madonna responds to lawsuit over late concert start times, intends to defend herself “vigorously”

Madonna has responded to a recent lawsuit filed by two fans over late start times at her ‘Celebration’ tour dates in New York City’s Barclays Center.

Last week (January 17), Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden, two fans who bought tickets to the December 13 date of Madonna’s ‘Celebration’ tour at the Barclays Center, filed a lawsuit against Madonna for starting the concert more than two hours past the stipulated 8:30PM start time. The lawsuit accused her of not only breaching contracts with ticket buyers, but also of “false advertising, negligent representation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices”.

Now, Madonna’s representatives and Live Nation have issued a joint statement, expressing their intentions to “defend this case vigorously”. Per Billboard, the parties attributed the delay to a technical difficulty experienced during the soundcheck for the December 13 date.

Madonna performs during The Celebration Tour at The O2 on October 15, 2023 in London, England. Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Live Nation.

“The shows opened in North America at Barclays in Brooklyn as planned, with the exception of a technical issue December 13th during soundcheck,” the statement via Billboard reads. “This caused a delay that was well documented in press reports at the time. We intend to defend this case vigorously.”

The statement also stated that the tour’s recent European leg had “received rave reviews”, though The Guardian highlighted that several of Madonna’s concerts at London’s O2 Arena were “delayed or cut short” due to technical difficulties.

In the original complaint, Fellows’ and Hadden’s lawyers claimed that as the 8:30PM start time listed on the tickets for the December 13, 14 and 16 concerts was “material to Plaintiffs’ agreement to purchase” them, her lateness resulted in legal damage for those who “had to get up early to go to work and/or take care of their family responsibilities the next day”.

Madonna. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty

The complaint also detailed that the concerts’ 1AM conclusion left concertgoers facing “limited public transportation, limited ride-sharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs” after the show, with some even left “stranded in the middle of the night”.

Fellows’ and Hadden’s lawyers also invoked New York state’s General Business Law 149 in claiming that Madonna’s late start times were violating state laws. They claimed that the inaccurate representation of the concert’s advertised start time, alongside the failure to “provide notice to Plaintiffs and all Class Members that the concert would not start at 8:30PM” or provide them “the option of receiving a refund” all translated to the violation of the law.

Meanwhile, the ‘Celebration’ tour has carried on. Most recently, Madonna returned to New York City to perform at Madison Square Garden, with Amy Schumer in tow as a guest judge for the dancers during the ‘Vogue’ segment of the show. Schumer joins the ranks of Stella McCartney, Maggie Rogers and even Santa Claus as a judge during the segment.

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