Howler Statement on Coronavirus and SA Events Industry

In the last week, major events right across the globe have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Some, for the first time in 100 years.

Image Supplied by Howler 

Last week, even before President Ramaphosa’s address, South Africa’s event organisers began to take decisive action to put your health and safety ahead of their own interests.

Now, with the official ban on gatherings over 100 people, the entire entertainment and live music business is reeling. This is something no-one could have prepared for and the damage to our industry will be far-reaching.

How does this affect you, the event-goer?

For starters, you are not going to be able to attend your favourite events or festivals, at least for the foreseeable future. Not cool? We agree.

But we’re also thinking about the knock-on effect on DJs, vendors, security, AV, tenting, décor, etc. Add in the designers, communicators, influencers, social media peeps, creatives, and the list just goes on.

So yes, you’re affected and probably disappointed. But this is bigger than that.

What’s the difference between full & partial refunds?

Each event is unique, so we allow organisers to set their own refund/cancellation policies. Most events will be postponed to later in the year or 2021, giving you lots to look forward to. All tickets for events that are postponed will be available for the next event, and there is nothing you need to do but look out for comms, which you may already have seen. Trust the organisers – they’ll reward your loyalty, big time!

But here’s something you should know:

Most event organisers rely on ticket sales to fund their events. This is an industry norm. In many cases, they use the ticket revenue to cover event production costs and pay deposits to their suppliers. Plus, event sponsorship is usually only settled post-event, so cash flow can be very tricky.

In the case of postponement/cancellation due to extraordinary circumstances like COVID-19, the event organiser may deduct reasonable costs incurred from the ticket value. This is why most cancellation policies have higher fees closer to the event.  

So, if you receive only a partial refund, please don’t scream at the organiser. Stop to think about the situation they’re in. Have compassion. It’s not cool to lose out on cash, we agree. But stop to think about the unbelievable threat to the industry.

Without partial refunds or postponements, many event organisers could go out of business. And if that happens, your favourite events won’t just be pushed out. They’ll be gone. 

What about event cancellation & ticket insurance? 

Many organisers have event cancellation insurance in place, but communicable diseases are not covered by these policies. 

Like many of us, event organisers find themselves out of luck. Similarly, if you have purchased ticket insurance, you’re covered for most things, but not for event cancellation as result of a government ban or travel warning. 

Requested a refund but not heard anything?  

Please bear with us. We’re on it. We’ve thought of nothing else for days, and we’re in constant discussion with event organisers to optimally manage literally hundreds of events cancelled overnight. As you can imagine, things are intense right now. But we have your back.

What you can do next…

Over the next few days, keep an eye on your inbox and social media, because event organisers will communicate with you directly about postponements or refunds. 

If an event is postponed, take that ticket! At some stage, this whole crazy time will end and you’ll want to get out and celebrate. 

For further queries or assistance, please refer to help.howler.co.za

And, until we’re all allowed out again, be safe and kind to others. 

Take care.

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