What Happens When Concerts Are Canceled?

Canceling events is always a big problem for everyone. The epidemic also hit the world of music. With the uneasiness of the artists, cancellations started, with the instructions of the ministry proceeded until the halting of all events.

Although the problem is big, similar stuations happens as a part of the life. Last year, more than 10 ‘big’ festivals were canceled for different reasons, while no worldwide epidemic was in mind. Among them is Woodstock. So what happens after a concert is canceled?

Afterwards, it is up to the contracts between everyone involved in the concert. How to plan payments for the names that will take the stage, how to arrange insurance policies against negativities… It is difficult to get information about these contracts because everyone works with specific conditions as much as possible. In other words, some artists demands the full payment before the concert. An insurance policy is prepared for a concert venue without all the guarantees.

For example, when the 50th anniversary event of Woodstock was canceled, it was announced that everyone who took the stage would receive full payment. Because the contracts were in this direction. There were also discussions between the lines in different events canceled due to natural disasters.

It seems as if no one has thought of the outbreak. An insurance policy measure covering this situation was hardly taken at cultural arts events. The only organization that has recently received such an insurance payment is from the sports field; Wimbledon. The organization, which was canceled this year for the first time since the Second World War, received a £ 100 million payment due to the coverage of its insurance policies. Thus, the epidemic survived ‘harmless’. However, the economic uncertainty of the epidemic continues for all sectors.


The surprising part is that ambiguity is everywhere. Solutions are sought in the bottom lines of contracts or laws. For example, in the USA, it is spoken to cover losses from the treasury budget with various supports, since all activities are stopped by the order of the federal government. This pressure is also shown as a reason why the White House is trying to quickly turn the economy back to its pre-epidemic. In Europe, states directly undertake the losses of many sectors, and the aid is made from the first moments of the quarantine decisions. For example, grant aids from Germany for artists have been going on for weeks.


Some artists and many concert organizers have insurance policies against cancellations in the world. The problem is the absence of phrases for epidemics in many policies. The minority who have these policies also find it difficult to negotiate with the insurance companies regarding their payment. As René Siemens, one of Foo Fighters’ attorneys told Rolling Stone, “It is difficult to generalize, but it is certain, insurance companies refrain from paying.”

Insurance companies approach the issue from two perspectives. It is not possible to make payments to institutions that do not have phrases for epidemic in their policies. This part is clear. So is it possible to expand the scope? In some countries, shortly after the virus was detected, the coverage of health policies was extended to cover the epidemic. However, this does not seem to provide a suitable solution. Because if the losses of large-scale festivals are tried to be covered, the collapse of insurance companies may come to the agenda. Also, since the companies from other sectors will have the right to demand the same payment, their work can be thoroughly out of reach.

On the other hand, it is understood that concert organizers do not approach the policies covering cancellation in many countries.

Did the tickets burn?

Another question is the fate of tickets sold at canceled events. Fortunately, unlike roundabout agreements between companies, the ticket sales contract is made public by nature. While buying the ticket, we are talking about the contracts that we all clicked on “I have read, confirm”.

In this regard, it is necessary to hand over the right of ticket sales companies, ticket returns for concerts canceled due to the epidemic. Necessary guidance and information are available on their website. However, as it is understood from the sales contracts, there are no ‘service fee’ in the refund amounts.


We often started to hear the word “normalization” in the speeches of managers. In many countries, it is expected that the return to normal life before the epidemic will begin step by step. However, this turn will certainly take time. In any case, at least for a while, hand disinfectants and masks seem to continue to be a part of our lives.

It is always said that the music world is used to the crises. We fully believe that everything will work out in this way. But wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we chose to be more prepared instead of solving crises?


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