Deep Breaths: Here’s What To Do If A Festival Is Canceled Due To Coronavirus

Over the past week, Ultra Music Festival along with the City of Miami has confirmed the festival will not take place in two weeks as scheduled due to growing Coronavrius concerns. Since then, other major festivals have followed suit including the annual SXSW (South By Southwest) in Austin and Tomorrowland Winter in the French Alps. It was also just announced that Coachella would be moving to October. As the situation progresses, many festivals will be forced to make tough decisions regarding their festivals. It’s not an easy decision to make by any means. 

Naturally, those that were planning to attend now canceled festivals and those waiting to hear feedback from festivals under review are feeling overwhelmed and concerned over the outcomes. This is totally normal. All attendees have invested a lot of money into these trips as they travel from around the globe. For most, the plane tickets, hotels, and Airbnbs are non-refundable. Here’s our guide on what to do if your festival is canceled:

Stay Patient 

Or at least as patient as you can. Wait until the festival releases all final details regarding the event cancelation before taking further action. Some festivals may refund the tickets, others may not. Others may allow you to utilize the ticket for a rescheduled event later on. Once the details are confirmed, then make your decision. If you will not be receiving credit, do your best to reach out to the company. Unfortunately, many have a no-refund policy for any reason. In the worst case, contact your credit card company and file a dispute, but keep in mind that may or not be guaranteed.

Call The Airline

During this time period, most airlines are issuing refunds including on non-refundable tickets. The easiest way to proceed with this is to tell them that you are not able to travel due to health concerns during a coronavirus outbreak. Let them know that you purchased your ticket before this was a problem and that you never would have chosen to travel during a time like this.

While they may not issue you a refund, most will at the very least given you credit without any additional fees to use at a later time. While this is not ideal, it is better than nothing. Keep in mind this only applies to flights booked directly through the airline. If you booked through a third party, contact the travel agency and explain the situation. Again, the worst-case scenario is you contact your bank to file a dispute or your credit card company to see if they have travel protection coverage.

  • I was personally able to obtain an airline credit from Jetblue and Alaska for my flights to Miami for Ultra, both of which was non-refundable because I purchased the least expensive ticket option with no protection. I explained to each airline that I did not want to travel during coronavirus to a city that is taking precautions over an outbreak. I told them that had I known there would be a worldwide epidemic, I never would have booked travel but unfortunately, I had booked this before coronavirus was a known issue (I booked my tickets in early December). I told them that I have a weak immune system (which is true but I do my best to boost it around festival season) and that I did not feel comfortable traveling anymore. They both issued me credit with no additional fees attached.

Contact The Hotel or Airbnb

Depending on where you booked your hotel, most hotels offer a full refund up to a certain date if you booked directly with the hotel. The sooner you contact the hotel, the better. If you booked through a third-party site, it is going to be more difficult to cancel if they do not offer refunds. If there are issues with obtaining a refund, you can try your best to file a dispute with your card company. However, there are no guarantees the bank and vendor will honor the claim. Some credit card companies offer automatic travel protection, however, so definitely take advantage of your card has this option.

Luckily for those that have booked an Airbnb, the company has confirmed that they will allow cancelations due to coronavirus-related issues. If the area you are traveling to is impacted by the coronavirus and the government has become involved by issuing a travel warning, they will allow a cancelation. To view the map of travel advisories, head here. To view the Airbnb travel policy regarding coronavirus, head here.

Use It As A Vacation

If you are stuck in both your flight and accommodation, you can either cancel the trip completely and lose the money invested or you can take the trip regardless of an opportunity to explore a new area. Many locations such as Miami are beautiful vacation hotspots on their own with plenty to do and see. While it is no substitute for the festival, some of the trips can be salvaged and turned into a great weekend with the right outlook.

Other than that, there are unfortunately limited options to recoup your money. As always, the best way to protect yourself on any trip is to purchase travel insurance, which can be purchased with your ticket or via third party agencies (note: this has to be done within 7-21 days of purchasing your ticket). Some credit card companies such as AMEX offer trip protection as do airlines and travel agencies such as Expedia, which offers a money-back guarantee option if you pay an additional fee that typically ranges from $30-$80.

In the meantime, hang tight and stay healthy. We will get through this together. 

*Images via popsugar.com, miamibeachguest.com, airconcierge.com, gettyimages.com

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