Concert lovers the world over are facing disappointment. A number of major acts are postponing or cancelling shows over concerns about COVID-19, or coronavirus. Locally, we’ve already seen a couple of acts cancel shows or tours. And that’s likely to just be the tip of the iceberg. What if an artist cancels a show that you already have tickets for? Can you get a refund? And what about future shows? Will there be a corona-virus exemption for refunds?
Earlier in the week, British comedian Russell Brand cancelled his “Recovery Live” show at the Perth Concert Hall, saying he was concerned about the potential for coronavirus to be spread amongst audience members and to his crew. Fortunately all ticket holders can get a refund.
But the biggest concert cancellation so far comes from Miley Cyrus, who has cancelled her headline appearance at a bushfire relief concert because of the threat of infection for her crew and attendees.
Australia: Due to the recommendations of local, state, federal and international government authorities, including the Center for Disease Control, to reduce potential health risks in response to the current global health crisis, we are no longer traveling to Aus for the show.
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) March 10, 2020
With Miley Cyrus pulling out, the entire event, that was meant to raise funds for bushfire relief has been cancelled. All ticket holders will be getting a refund.
In Hobart, organisers of the Dark Mofo festival have taken the step of cancelling now rather than being forced into a last minute decision which could have caused significant losses for the event.
Right across the world, concerts are being cancelled with Mariah Carey backing out of a gig in Honolulu, Queen and Adam Lambert, and Madonna, postponing shows in Paris and 80s stars a-ha cancelling their tour of Japan. Even Coachella looks like being postponed with an October date now on the cards.
Generally, if a concert is cancelled ticket holders receive a refund although there are occasional exceptions such as if the gig is outdoors and the show is shortened or cancelled due to inclement weather.
So, where do you stand if you have tickets to a cancelled show?
With the ticket business becoming increasingly complex, as third parties resell tickets, it’s worthwhile buying tickets from a reputable agent that has a clear refund policy for event cancellations. While a third party might save you a few dollars, given the volatility of concert schedules at the moment, you may find the few dollars you save aren’t worth it if the concert or event you attend is cancelled and you can’t secure a refund.
Australian Consumer Law suggests that you also use a credit card or reputable agency to make your ticket purchases you may have more protection if a concert or event doesn’t take place.
For example, Ticketmaster says “Ticketmaster cannot guarantee refunds or exchanges, except where an event has been cancelled or rescheduled, or where Australian Consumer Law applies.
Lifehacker Australia has reached out to Ticketek and are waiting for comment.