UPDATED: Paul McCartney fiercely criticized the Italian live-music industry over its refund policy for his canceled 2020 concerts in a Facebook post. McCartney was scheduled to perform in the Italian cities of Naples and Lucca this week but canceled the shows early last month due to the coronavirus pandemic. In line with the policy of Assomusica, the official Italian promoters’ association, fans were offered vouchers but not refunds, prompting outrage online and a fiery statement from McCartney.
“It is outrageous that those who have paid for their tickets are not getting their money back. Without the fans there would be no live entertainment,” reads the statement, which was written in Italian and posted on McCartney’s official Facebook page in Italy, although it was not visible in the U.S. “We strongly disagree with what the Italian government are doing. In every other country we were going to visit this summer the fans have all been offered full refunds. The organiser of our shows and the Italian law makers must do the right thing here. We are all extremely disappointed the shows could not take place and this is a real insult to the fans.”
Contacted by Variety, a rep for McCartney did not immediately have further information.
A portion of the statement not attributed to McCartney reads in part, “At the time of the cancelation it was done so in the belief that all those who had purchased tickets to the shows across Europe would be offered a refund. Whilst this is the case in all the other countries Paul and his band were due to visit in May and June, the Italian government passed a decree so that all reimbursements to live shows would be offered in the form of vouchers as recommended by Assomusica, the Italian live music promoter’s association. The money from ticket sales in Italy is being held by the promoters.”
A statement from promoter D’allessando e Galli (translated from Italian) defended the voucher system, citing the dire situation the pandemic has caused for live entertainment. “We have read Paul McCartney’s statements made by him this morning. We fully understand the bitterness of the artist over these two concerts that would mark his return to Italy, and we understand his displeasure in the face of the inconvenience that his fans will have to sustain by not receiving a direct refund but by voucher.
“This reimbursement formula is an extraordinary measure that Paul McCartney’s staff was perfectly aware of before the cancellation and which, as is well known, was established by the Italian Government to deal with an unprecedented crisis that risked giving a shot fatal to the live music industry and the approximately 400,000 workers who are part of it and who risk not being able to work for a year.
“We believe that the Government has identified in the voucher the tool that would guarantee the correct balance between the legitimate disappointment of the fan who will not be able to attend a given concert and the vital need to support the entire production chain.
“For our part, to minimize the inconvenience of the spectators, who we will never fail to respect, we have already committed ourselves by 2021 to recovering almost all the shows scheduled for 2020 and we are working to add others, to offer the wider choice for those who will have to spend the voucher following a canceled concert.”
“Paul, help us!,” reads a tweet in English from a fan who apparently felt inspired to create a song and video about the situation.
“Concert in Italy cancelled and organizers refused to pay their money back! So many people are not being able to eat in these desperate times and this is what @diandgiconcerts is doing!”
— Jime Ardini (@jimeardini) May 27, 2020