Willie Nelson not coming to Fort Smith

story by Aric Mitchell

Fort Smith Convention Center (FSCC) will not be hosting the return of country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson on Nov. 29 as originally thought.

FSCC chief operating officer Tim Seeberg confirmed that the show had been canceled on Friday (Nov. 9) due to lagging ticket sales.

“What happened in this case is that Willie and the show promoter (Larry Shaeffer Presents out of Sand Springs, Okla.) were not comfortable with the current pace of ticket sales for this event, so they went ahead and canceled,” Seeberg said, adding that only 300 tickets had been sold to the event which would have been held inside the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center of the FSCC (capacity: 1,300).

“It’s unfortunate, but at this time we don’t know of any expected rescheduling,” Seeberg said.

Seeberg confirmed that refunds on the face value of the tickets would be offered to existing ticket buyers. Fees, he added, would not be refundable “as those go to the promoter or ticket seller.”

“The majority of buyers bought tickets with a credit card and because of that they will need to contact iTickets.com. If they did purchase with cash at our box office, they can come to the Convention Center offices.”

The FSCC was notified “two or three days ago” of the cancellation, Seeberg said. “We don’t like going through the motions and all the sudden it doesn’t happen, but we’re working on some other artists coming up, some fairly decent names we’ll hopefully be inking a deal with in the near future.”

Nelson had to reschedule a previous engagement in Fort Smith “a couple of years ago,” Seeberg said, due to health issues.

The multiple Grammy-, AMA-, CMA- and Academy of Country Music-award winning artist has been active since 1956. Songwriting credits include “Crazy” (popularized by Patsy Cline), “Hello Walls,” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.” As an artist, Nelson has more than 20 number one hits, which include “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “On the Road Again,” and “Always on My Mind.”

He will turn 80 years of age on April 30, 2013.