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Cancelled SXSW and Ultra Music Fest stand firm on no-refund policy

South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival have insisted they will not issue refunds to customers after the US festivals were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

SXSW, which was scheduled to kick off this weekend, indicated in an email to ticketholders that it is looking at rescheduling the event for later this year, “along with some online conference experiences and networking opportunities”.

The 2020 edition of the technology and entertainment festival in Austin, Texas was called off on March 6 for the first time in its 34-year history. SXSW is standing by its strict no-refund policy.

Its policy reads: “SXSW does not issue refunds under any circumstances. Any and all payments made to SXSW are not refundable for any reason, including, without limitation, failure to use Credentials due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, loss of employment and/or duplicate purchases.”

In 2019, SXSW welcomed nearly 74,000 punters with over 19,000 coming from outside the US.

Ultra Music Festival has also said that refunds will not be given to ticketholders of the 2020 Miami edition, but has instead offered ‘benefit’ packages, including admission to either the 2021 or 2022 Miami festivals, discount codes for merchandise and more.

The three-day annual event was scheduled to take place on March 20-22, but was postponed last week amid rising concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus.

Tickets will be honoured at either the 2021 or 2022 Ultra Music Festival Miami events, though ticket holders have only 30 days to choose which year they would like to attend. The event is also working on a “digital online Ultra experience as soon as possible”.

Ultra is offering a ‘benefits’ package that includes an ‘extra Ultra hour’ main stage DJ set before gates open exclusive only to 2020 ticket holders who attend in 2021, as well as one free ticket to any non-Miami Ultra Worldwide or Resistance events in 2021 or 2022, and a discount code for 50% off official merchandise order of $250 or more.

The decision not to refund ticketholders is in line with Ultra’s refund policy, which states that in all cases, including governmental acts and acts of God, the “organiser may, in its sole and absolute discretion elect to either, (a) issue Purchaser a full or partial refund, (b) postpone the Event for a future date and/or (c) offer Purchaser a comparable ‘make good’.”

As the number of cases in the US continues to rise, other events and festivals are following suit and opting to cancel or postpone. Yesterday, Coachella music festival confirmed plans to move the event from April to October due to coronavirus fears.

“At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns,” the California festival said in a press release on Tuesday. “While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.”

Image: Anosov1505