Wilco Respond To Fans’ Calls For Sky Blue Sky Fest Refunds

Annabel Mehren

Wilco Respond To Fans’ Calls For Sky Blue Sky Fest Refunds

Annabel Mehren

Back in May of 2021, that brief and glorious moment when it seemed like the pandemic was actually ending, Wilco announced the return of Sky Blue Sky, their destination festival in Cancun. The festival is happening next week at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, and it’ll also feature acts like Spoon, Kurt Vile, Thundercat, and Stephen Malkmus. But the reality of going to a music festival in Mexico next week isn’t exactly what most of us imagined back when Sky Blue Sky was first announced. Right now, a number of fans are asking Wilco for the option to get ticket refunds — the cheapest Sky Blue Sky packages cost $1699 — and the band is saying that they’re powerless to stop the fest or to offer refunds.

As Rolling Stone reports, a number of forthcoming destination festivals are facing the same questions. Dead & Company recently cancelled their own Cancun festival Playing In The Sand. Meanwhile, Sky Blue Sky acts Waxahatchee, Mountain Man, and Julian Lage have dropped off of the show, with Soccer Mommy and Ohmme replacing them.

Wilco fans have started an online petition for a refund option, and a few of them talked to Rolling Stone about being unable to make the trip to Mexico because of the possibility of having to quarantine in Mexico in the event of a positive test. People are also petitioning Hootie & The Blowfish, Luke Bryan, Dave Matthews, and the Avett Brothers for ticket refunds. Those refunds probably won’t be happening.

In a statement to Pitchfork, a representative for Wilco says that the band can’t offer refunds because the festival isn’t theirs. Instead, those decisions are up to Cloud 9, the company promoting the event, as well as a bunch of those other Cancun festivals:

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 festival promotor, Cloud 9, is solely responsible for and determines all ticketing policies, including pricing and availability of refunds or credits.

In his Instagram Live broadcast The Tweedy Show, Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy also addressed the calls for refunds last week:

I 100% understand all the anxiety and anger and confusion that has been surrounding the Sky Blue Sky 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.

The people at Cloud 9, meanwhile, have made it clear that they will not offer refunds. According to Rolling Stone, Cloud 9 send fans an email on New Years Day, explaining that “economic realities restrict us from offering full refunds.” In a statement to Pitchfork, Cloud 9 was even more blunt:

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.

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.

Cloud 9 did not include the phrase “sucks to be you” in their statement. That part was merely implied.

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