The Philly Pops, the 65-piece orchestra which is a founding resident company of the Kimmel Center, amended their April-dated antitrust lawsuit against the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, hoping to reschedule their postponed shows at the Verizon Hall auditorium at Kimmel. The amended filing to the Pops’ previous lawsuit includes requests for having a full access to online ticket platform Ticket Philadelphia to sell and distribute tickets to their shows and being reestablished at Verizon Hall so that they can resume their schedule including Christmas programs.
The amendment came a month after an antitrust lawsuit the Pops filed in which they claimed the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, who merged in 2021 and is now known as POKC, used tactics intended to force the company out of business and create a monopoly for symphonic music in Philadelphia.
In the original lawsuit the Pops stated: “We have tried for months to resolve our financial issues, even going to far as to make repeated attempts to satisfy what we believed to be excessive POKC’s monetary demands. Yet POKC has steadfastly refused to allow the POPS to honor our obligations to our ticketholders – tickets that were sold in partnership with the Kimmel – and permit us to complete the current season at the Kimmel Center”.
According the claim by the Pops, the POKC partnership “was designed to create a monopoly in the city, alleging they increased fees for the Philly Pops’ performances at Verizon Hall, slowed the production and sale of seasonal tickets, and proposed the Pops end their run after the 2022-2023 season”.
“It is clear that POKC’s goal all along has been to drive Philly POPS out of business,” William DeStefano, attorney for the POPS said. “They want to eliminate the POPS as a competitor, so that they can develop their own pops programming and monopolize the market for this music in Philadelphia. We are asking the Court to prevent them from doing so, and we look forward to having our day in court.”
Last week’s amended filing with the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, the Philly Pops alleged that “POKC under the management and control of the Philadelphia Orchestra slowed down and ultimately refused entirely the production, distribution and/or sale of tickets by Ticket Philadelphia for previously scheduled concerts by the Philly Pops at Verizon Hall.”
The Philly Pops announced in November it would cease operations after the 2022-2023 season due to the unresolved financial issues. The announcement was followed by the Pops being evicted from operating at the Kimmel Center in January after they missed a $520,000 payment for the rent. Although they tried to move their shows to the Met Philadelphia, they had to be postponed as the group were working on a financial model to put into practice. In the lawsuit the ensemble asserts it hasn’t had full access to Ticket Philadelphia since January, month of eviction.
The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, on the other hand, called the Philly Pops’ claims meritless.
“We are disappointed that the current leadership of the Philly Pops continues to pursue meritless claims in court instead of sending us a plan that addresses the more than $1,000,000 the Pops owes the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. for past rent, labor costs, and other services,” a spokesperson said in an email statement published on The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Founded in 1979 by Moe Septee, and known for playing orchestral versions of popular jazz, swing, Broadway songs and blues, the Pops is currently not performing.
“The Philly Pops has a bright future,” said Pops president and CEO Karen Corbin in a statement to the media released with a copy of the amended complaint. “All we want to do is continue what we do best — playing popular music for the community we love by presenting the concerts that we have announced and planned for our patrons.”
Last Updated on May 26, 2023 by Dave Clark
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