BRMC Statement Regarding Summer 2020 Canceled Concerts, Our Independent Ticket Vendor, and Ticket Refunds
We are very sorry that due to Covid-19, many of the concerts scheduled in our 2020 concert series this summer, including those featuring Old Crow Medicine Show, Steep Canyon Rangers, Tuba Skinny, and Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei, are canceled. With many venues throughout the country closed and most music festivals canceled, it is not financially feasible for some performers to travel for single performances. Further, due to restrictions on gathering capacities and other mitigation measures necessary for preventing the spread of the Coronavirus, it is simply not feasible to host larger concerts this summer.
Blue Ridge Music Center is also experiencing an issue with our independent ticket vendor, Brown Paper Tickets, and the consequent ticket refunds.
Since 2014, The Blue Ridge Music Center has worked with Brown Paper Tickets (BPT) as the third party, independent, ticket vendor for concerts at The Blue Ridge Music Center. Until now, that relationship was satisfactory.
Using a third party vendor is standard practice in the concert industry. Normally, tickets are purchased from the ticket vendor (in this case, BPT). They charge a ticket fee per ticket on top of the base ticket price to cover their costs (in this case, 5% + $0.99). The vendor holds all revenue from ticket sales until after the completion of the event, at which time they send the venue (Blue Ridge Music Center) a check for the base price of the total tickets sold for that event.
Because Brown Paper Tickets holds the revenue for an event, if a concert is canceled, BPT directly reimburses the advance ticket purchasers. In these cases, the Music Center does not receive any revenue from BPT. In fact, if ticket processing fees are also refunded, the Music Center owes BPT.
Unfortunately, we canceled several concerts this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We tried to assist our patrons in obtaining refunds from BPT for June and July’s canceled shows. After weeks of repeated attempts to contact BPT on behalf of our ticket purchasers, they provided no refunds. What’s more, BPT stopped responding to our repeated inquiries.
While a message on their website indicates that they will eventually pay back all money owed to venues and ticket purchasers, it appears that they have not been making these payments or refunds. It is uncertain whether they will ever be able to pay money owed to venues for completed shows or refund patrons for canceled shows.
We consulted with an attorney as to what recourse we can take ensure the purchased tickets are refunded. We were told that since the transactions were between the purchaser and Brown Paper Tickets, ticket purchasers must take their own action with Brown Paper Tickets to get the refund.
Steps to Request Ticket Refunds
The first step is to request a refund directly from Brown Paper Tickets. Send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org telling them the venue name (Blue Ridge Music Center), date of the show, name of the band, and number of tickets to be refunded. Be sure to save your correspondence.
If you do not receive your refund in a timely manner, you may be able to go to your credit card company to reverse payment for the tickets. The rules for each company are different, so you’ll need to contact your credit card company to see if they can reverse the charge. Keep in mind that you have to request the refund through the regular channels first, so be sure to start the process by emailing your request to Brown Paper Tickets.
The Blue Ridge Music Center sincerely and deeply regrets this situation. We are sympathetic to patrons who purchased tickets to our canceled concerts and may or may not receive their refund from Brown Paper Tickets.
Please know that we value the trust, relationship, and support our patrons give us and want to do what we can to make a bad situation better. In hopes of doing so, we are offering concert credit.
Though we do not have the ability to directly refund monies that we have not received, we do want to offer each of you—as a token of our appreciation and our distress regarding the predicament of our ticket vendor—use of your existing tickets for any of BRMC’s concerts this summer. Alternatively, you can receive a credit coupon that is good for any concert in the 2021 summer season. This concert credit offer is valid even if you are able to get a refund from BPT or charge reversal from your credit card company. Once the 2020 season concludes, we will issue 2021 vouchers for tickets not used in this year’s concert season.
We hope you will see this gesture as a sign that we are trying to make the best of a bad situation that is out of our control. We are extremely sorry about the issue with Brown Paper Tickets and would be happy to talk to you about it if you would like to call us.
Again, like you, we are disappointed that we have to cancel these concerts. We are also extremely disturbed by this issue with our ticket vendor and want to do what we can for you—our patron and supporter.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.