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Italian live business defends vouchers – IQ MagazineCMS
Italian live music industry professionals have hit back at comments made by Sir Paul McCartney criticising the decision to offer fans vouchers, instead of cash refunds, for cancelled shows.
Representatives from industry association Assomusica and promoter D’Alessandro e Galli spoke out following a statement on McCartney’s official Facebook page in Italy. The post declared it was “outrageous” that fans were “not getting their money back” for shows he had been scheduled to play at the 23,000 square-metre Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples on 10 June and at the 45,000-capacity Mura Storiche in Lucca on 13 June.
In accordance with government regulations, ticketholders for McCartney’s Italian concerts were reimbursed with credit to spend on future shows, rather than receiving their money back. Vouchers have been championed by industry associations around the world as a way to alleviate the pressures on cash-strapped promoters facing unprecedented volumes of refund requests.
“We strongly disagree with what the Italian government are doing,” wrote McCartney. “In every other country we were going to visit this summer the fans have all been offered full refunds. This is a real insult to the fans.”
In response to the comments, D’Alessandro e Galli, the promoter for the former Beatle’s Italian shows, issued a statement acknowledging the “displeasure” McCartney may feel at “the inconvenience that his fans will have to sustain by not receiving a direct refund”.
“The voucher is the instrument that guarantees the balance between the disappointment of the fan and the vital need to support the industry”
The promoter adds that vouchers are an “extraordinary” form of reimbursement that McCartney’s team was “perfectly aware of before the cancellation” and that aims to help the Italian live industry through a crisis that could deal it, as well as the 400,000 professionals working within it, a “fatal blow”.
“We believe that the government has identified the voucher as the instrument that guarantees the correct balance between the legitimate disappointment of the fan and the vital need to support the entire entertainment industry.”
Speaking to Italian publication Rockol, Vincenzo Spera, president of Italian promoters’ association Assomusica – which has spoken out in favour of the voucher scheme – iterated that McCartney’s team were aware of the reimbursement situation and had the chance to “devise and adopt solutions that seemed most suitable”, if they so wished.
Spera also points out that the voucher scheme extends to the whole tourism and cultural sector in Italy, with similar programmes also adopted in other European countries including Germany.
In countries where voucher laws are not in place, ticketing platforms including Eventbrite, StubHub and SeatGeek are currently facing legal action for the alleged non-payment of refunds for cancelled or postponed events.
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