Concerts and live music events are being postponed left and right due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (See City Paper's full list here
.) It's frustrating for the ticket buyer. "Where's my money?" you ask. But it is just as distressing for venues and concert promoters, who are also losing money while working to reschedule shows and answer the same questions over and over again. So before you reach out to a venue about a refund or show postponement, read this to see if your question can be answered below.
Ben Penigar, owner of Rex Theater
and founder of Grey Area Productions
(Roxian Theatre, Thunderbird Café & Music Hall, Cattivo, Spirit, Carnegie Library Music Hall, and Highmark Stadium)
posted the following statement on Facebook Tuesday afternoon:
"If a show is canceled, your purchase will be refunded from the point of sale. If purchased online, it will be automatically refunded. If purchased at a local outlet, that is where you will get your refund once that business has re-opened if it is currently closed.
"If a show is postponed, your ticket will be good for the rescheduled date. If you cannot make that date, you can request a refund via the ticketing provider that you purchased your ticket through (Eventbrite, TicketMaster, ShowClix, etc.)
"If there has not been an announcement on the event page for a particular show, that generally means that the event is either not being canceled/postponed or the promoter, venue, agent, and band have not yet figured out what is happening with the date. There are a ton of moving pieces here that have to be considered and we are all working as rapidly as we can while trying to maintain our sanity."
Adam Valen of Drusky Entertainment
(see all venues here
) says the same goes for all of their shows, and asks ticket buyers to please be patient "as this is a very tedious (and not an overnight) process. We're working to reschedule anywhere from 75-100+ shows of the next month or so. Also, given the influx of messages to venues, again, please be patient."
Additionally, keep an eye on the venue's website or Facebook event pages for status updates concerning shows. Those sites are where most promoters relay their information (plus emails directly to customers that purchased tickets).
For those with tickets to Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
concerts that have been affected, each person will be contacted by either phone or email starting Wed., March 18. They ask that whenever possible, that you consider ticket exchanges or donating your tickets for a tax refund.
"As a nonprofit arts organization, the Pittsburgh Symphony relies on the audience we serve," reads a press release. "By donating your tickets in lieu of a refund, you are providing vital support for the music and musicians that inspire and connect our community. Please consider donating your tickets back to the Pittsburgh Symphony and receive a donation receipt."
Brendan Pester of Opus One Productions
, which holds shows at Mr. Smalls Theatre, Club Cafe, Carnegie Library Lecture Hall of Oakland, and Byham Theater, says that many of their events are still awaiting a final decision and that once that has been determined tickets will be valid for the new dates or refunds will be available.
If you purchased Opus One tickets from Ticketweb, Ticketmaster, or the Cultural Trust, information about rescheduled dates and refunds for canceled shows will come directly from them and be given to the ticket buyer.
Opus One show tickets purchased at the venue box office and Dave's Music Mine can be refunded at those locations once they are reopened.
Alejandro Beach, Box Office Manager for Roxian Theatre
and Thunderbird Café & Music Hall
, says that refunds will be available at the point of sale for all of their canceled shows. For events that have been postponed, they will notify the people who have purchased tickets that the show is being rescheduled.
"We will let everyone know the new date for the show as soon as we can," says Beach. "We ask that people hold on to their tickets as they will still be valid for the new show date. We will also send emails to all customers who purchased their tickets via Eventbrite as soon as a show is canceled or postponed."
Like the other venues, keep an eye on their Facebook event pages for announcements about more postponed/canceled shows.
"This has been a challenging time for everyone in our company and everyone in our industry," says Beach. "We are proud of how our staff has all come together and worked hard to ensure that when we are able to reopen our doors, our audiences will have great shows to come to."
"No one is looking to rip you off or make off with your money," continued Penigar in his Facebook post. "It takes time to reschedule entire tours that now have to be re-routed around the country and with limited available dates at venues because of other tours that are already booked for dates in the fall and winter.
"This very real situation has the potential to bankrupt many of the promoters and venues that promote, produce, and host the events that you attend. We are not ignorant to this fact, but we are still out here, working tirelessly from home offices, our kitchen tables, and our living rooms to make sense of this all, and we're moving dates as quickly as we can. The reality of this situation is defeating and is soul-crushing for so many of us, so please, have some compassion and some empathy in these difficult times."