Wilco & Jeff Tweedy respond to calls for Sky Blue Sky refunds
Wilco are scheduled to bring their Mexico concert vacation, Sky Blue Sky, back this year, beginning next week on Monday, January 17 in Riviera Maya. When the fest was announced back in May, the Covid situation was very different than the present, with the Omicron variant sending cases surging to all time highs across the country. Waxahatchee, Mountain Man, and Julian Lage have all since dropped out of the fest (Soccer Mommy and Ohmme will replace them), and some fans, worried about being unable to fly home after testing positive in Mexico, have started a petition asking for the option of getting refunds. So far, they haven't been successful; fest promoter Cloud 9 says in the Covid updates section that "Your Sky Blue Sky vacation is non-refundable," and Rolling Stone reports that a January 1 email to attendees from Cloud 9 reads, "economic realities restrict us from offering full refunds." The email gave the option to transfer tickets to people on the waitlist, with Cloud 9 offering to waive transfer fees.
In a statement to Pitchfork, Cloud 9 defended not offering refunds, writing, "Regarding traveling in and out of Mexico, the CDC put the testing requirement in place back in January 2021, before the event was announced or on sale. This has been a known factor for traveling back into the U.S. from anywhere in the world for a year now." Their statement continues:
Just as event organizers have to make non-refundable commitments to the resort approximately one year in advance, fans who make a reservation to attend the event also acknowledge that their trip is non-refundable. This is made clear at the time of booking.
It’s always a good idea to add travel insurance when booking a trip so far out, particularly in the winter months when travel delays, weather and illness can interrupt plans. Travel insurance has been recommended since the on sale and there are policies that can still be purchased up until the event. Complimentary extended stays are also offered by the resort and their third-party medical provider for any positive cases that may occur in Mexico until cleared for return travel.
As a service to the fans, Cloud 9 has extended and waived all last minute room transfer fees for anyone who has had a change of heart or is unable to attend, up through the day of check in. A refund, or the ability to hold one’e spot for a rescheduled date, will be available to purchasers if the event were to be postponed. The event is moving forward as planned.
A representative for Wilco told Rolling Stone that they don't have control over giving ticketholders refunds for the event, either. "With respect to the Sky Blue Sky festival, Wilco has been independently contracted to perform at this event and to have their name used to promote sales of tickets, in the same manner as most other live appearances by the group," the statement reads. "The festival promoter, Cloud 9, is solely responsible for and determines all ticketing policies, including pricing and availability of refunds or credits."
Jeff Tweedy also addressed the issue during an Instagram livestream on Thursday night (1/6), saying, "I 100% understand all the anxiety and anger and confusion that has been surrounding the SkyBlueSky festival. Wilco, we’re in a similar boat to everyone, not the same boat obviously, but a similar boat in that we’re trying to figure it out. We’re a contracted entity for this event... We’re hoping there’s some situation that becomes clear and resolves itself in a way that makes everyone happy. I find that to be an unlikely outcome at this point. I don’t think there’s anybody intentionally trying to fuck anybody over. I think there are a lot of rocks and a lot of hard places to be in on this particular topic."
Meanwhile, Dead & Compapny were on the verge of going ahead with their concert vacation, Playing in the Sand, earlier this month, even after John Mayer contracted Covid, but it wound up being cancelled at the last minute, less than 24 hours before it was to have begun.