My festival hasn’t yet cancelled. What should I do?

Dear Iona,

I am supposed to be going to a music festival later in the year that hasn't been cancelled yet. WTF? I could really do with the money I spent on the tickets as I have had to take a pay-cut - but surely the festival needs to be cancelled before I can request a refund? And what if I'm offered tickets for next year? I'm not sure if I'll be in a position to go then.
Rob, 22
Trainee Lawyer

Dear Rob,

I can understand why some festivals may be reluctant to cancel if there’s still a chance, however slim, that they might take place later this year.

But I would expect your festival to bow to the inevitable sooner rather than later. Reading and Leeds are the latest to throw in the towel, and I’ll be surprised if there are any 2020 festivals left standing by the end of June.

Once your festival is cancelled, you should get your tickets refunded – and the Consumer Markets Authority makes that clear.

But if your festival is being rescheduled for next year, I would consider whether you do still want to attend the festival as you would have done this year. If the answer is ‘yes’, I would advise against requesting a refund unless you absolutely need the money now and you genuinely don’t think you would be able to attend next year.
The businesses behind these festivals do still need support, and if they issued refunds to everyone, the industry would collapse. A year is a long time and who knows – you might appreciate having something to look forward to.
The businesses behind these festivals do still need support, and if they issued refunds to everyone, the industry would collapse.
Having said that, festivals should be doing a much better job of communicating with their customers. Many have confirmed cancellations late in the day and aren’t getting back to people requesting refunds. 
Should you decide to pursue a refund, rather than attend next year, contact your festival and make that clear. The last resort would be reporting the festival to the Competition Markets Authority and even taking them to a small claims court, but neither should be necessary.
Failing that, contact your credit card lender and ask about a refund under chargeback or Section 75 if you used your plastic to pay for the tickets. 
If you’re paying off a festival payment plan, contact the festival and ask to either freeze your payments for a year and pay the rest in 2021 for next year’s festival, or get a refund on the amount paid to date.
Here’s hoping we can all get back out there next year, Rob 😎


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