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Cancelled concerts: as fans, what rights do we have?


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Live music isn’t cheap now-a-days. Concerts are something that we treasure and remember forever. But, where do fans stand when their idol cancels on them at short notice? What circumstances mean we have the right as a paying attendee to get angry and demand compensation?

Gig cancellations can happen for so many reasons and it can happen to anyone, from that small local band playing in your favourite tiny venue or a pop superstar in a sold-out stadium. Regardless, it’s disappointing when a show you’ve been looking forward to suddenly gets cancelled, especially when it’s less than an hour before doors. Demi Lovato

In recent events, Demi Lovato cancelled her London show only 40 minutes before due to ‘swollen vocal cords’. I love Demi as much as the next ‘Sonny With a Chance’ fan, but you would think such an excuse would’ve been identified earlier than 40 minutes before doors.

In this instance, fans definitely have every right to be irritated, upset and angry. Demi’s fan base are the ones who would camp out from 6am and with no warning, it’s pulled from them. Luckily, this date is being rescheduled but what if you can’t make the new date?

Majority of ticket outlets such as Ticketmaster and Live Nation are part of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers meaning they have to at least refund the face value of the ticket in the instance of a cancelled show.

When a show has been rescheduled like Demi’s and you can’t make the new date, you still have the right to request a refund. It's fair, and despite it being disappointing and upsetting for fans, it’s the best you can get.

And what about late arrivals? There are so many pop icons, such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Kanye West who have really pushed the boundaries of the phrase ‘fashionably late’. Naturally, we all would get annoyed about this. A late show means that people aren’t getting what they paid for and in some cases are even having to cut that short themselves because of travel commitments.

I don’t think there is any criteria for what we, as fans, should or shouldn’t feel due to a cancelled or late show that we’ve paid for. It’s completely natural and within our human instincts to react in such a way.

For artists acting like divas, they need a stricter management team and serious consequences, especially if it becomes a regular occurrence like Rihanna in 2012 when she was late on numerous occasions within one tour.

Just because you’re a popstar doesn’t give you the right to stop the world and disappoint thousands of people for a misplaced watch (Madonna we’re talking about you).

Of course, we can’t forget the pressure artists are under, along with the stress their management go through to make sure our one night of magic is everything we have hoped for. But, especially when you’re a worldwide pop icon, you should have it nailed down by now: swollen vocal cords should be detected sooner than 40 minutes before doors, a misplaced watch can be found by your team whilst you’re performing, and general time management should be something that comes naturally at this point.

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