BLOOMINGTON — People were already standing in line for the Eric Church country music show at 6 p.m. Sunday when U.S. Cellular Coliseum was notified that the show was canceled due to the singer’s illness.
Hundreds of fans gathered in downtown Bloomington and expressed their disappointment, and in some cases, anger and frustration. Some traveled more than 100 miles. One person took a night off work to go to the concert.
Many who bought their tickets at the Coliseum went to the box office and got refunds. Others who bought from Ticketmaster or Stub Hub will go back to the point of purchase for refunds, said Jenna Wilson, communication manager at the Coliseum.
“I’ve played shows with injuries before, but unfortunately (I) cannot overcome having no voice,” Church said in a personal note to fans, which was released by the Coliseum.
“I hate (that) this came so late in the day, but I’ve tried everything I know of to get (my voice) back and wanted to give it as much time as I could to try and make the show happen.”
Wilson said Church “really apologizes.”
In his note, Church said, “To the fans that were planning on attending, I owe you one.”
Some people found out about the cancellation when it was announced at local pubs. Others didn’t know until they got to the doors.
“I came 100 miles,” said Cindy Paulson of Willow Springs. She came to the concert because her daughter, Cindy Paulson, an Illinois State University student, had won two free tickets.
She said it wasn’t a total waste of time. She will still enjoy visiting with her daughter. “We’re going to see ‘The Hunger Games,’” she said.
Sarah Marshall of Decatur only learned about Church’s cancellation when she got out of her car in the parking garage near the Coliseum.
It was the first time she was going to see the 34-year-old singer. “That’s the sad part,” she said.
Church has gained popularity every year since his 2006 debut of “Sinners Like Me.” Among the early radio hits that followed were “How ’Bout You,” “Two Pink Lines” and “Guys Like Me.” He was the Academy of Country Music’s 2011 best new solo artist.
The Sunday show was added because the Saturday show sold out so fast. “In 30 minutes,” Wilson said.
Fans had posted pictures of the show on their Facebook pages, encouraging others to go.
“I have friends who came to the concert last night,” said an annoyed John Moody from Atwood. He and a friend couldn’t understand why there couldn’t be a little more notice. “We won’t be back,” he said.