Music promoter protests Steam Packet after musician hit by ferry charges

Claims Vehicle Policies Threaten Manx Music Scene

A music promoter on the island has denounced the Steam Packet saying its rates for traveling musicians are a threat to the industry.

John Gregory’s complaint comes after blues musician Howlin’ Mat was told he would have to pay an extra £1,000 to bring his vehicle onto the Ben-my-Chree in Heysham.

The company said its Citroën Berlingo would be classed as a commercial vehicle – which Mat claims he was not told when booking through a third-party site.

John Gregory says issues like this threaten the Manx music scene:

Howlin’ Mat, who had only an hour’s sleep after returning to Yorkshire, leaving his gear behind and heading to Liverpool Airport, told Manx Radio it was a unique experience:

In response, the Steam Packet Company states:

“The Isle of Man company Steam Packet has helped dozens of artists travel and perform on the island so far this year, from individual blues musicians to the Halle Orchestra.

“Supporting arts and cultural events across the island is central to the company’s commitment to our community. The Company regularly works with a wide range of promoters and venues such as the Peel Centenary Centre, Erin Arts Centre, Villa Marina and the Gaiety Theatre, as well as schools and charities.

“In order for us to respond to such requests, we must be approached in advance.

“Unfortunately in this case we were unaware of the event and the ticket was booked through a third party. Our terms and conditions are clear regarding commercial vehicles and we must apply them fairly to all customers.

“It is precisely for this reason that we have established well-known support programs for artists, promoters, sports and other worthwhile causes that add to the quality of life on the island.”

Manx Radio spoke to John Gregory and Howlin’ Mat as they demonstrated outside Douglas Marine Terminal:

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