•• How our refunding process works. ••

Postponing an entire festival of over 300 shows and events carries certain anxieties for event producers. As well as being able to move an entire schedule back by five months for over 2,500 artists and crews, there is also the subject of customer refunds.

Our current advance was on target through October and November, and we were cruising along at around 33% which is comparable with festivals in the last ten years. As soon as the Omicron variant was discovered this flat-lined to about 35% which gave us something to worry about.

Not only do we depend on the advance tickets, but we also survive on around 25% walk up and bearing in mind that 90% of our charity’s resources are developed through our event trading, we could have faced immeasurable losses if we didn’t act sooner.

At Big Burns Supper – we made the decision to push our festival back because we believe that this will benefit as many people as possible, including:

  • Our audience who missed culture and live events
  • The artists who have missed the income
  • Our suppliers who have missed the gigs
  • Local services like hotels, pubs and restaurants who benefit from events taking place.

Are we insured? 

It is worth noting that no insurers are covering cancellations to UK events due to COVID, so that makes it quite difficult for us to be able to mitigate the risk. The UK government has created an insurance scheme, but this requires a % of the gross income from the event to secure the premium, and for the smaller event organiser. This wasn’t an option for us or any of our peer festival producers.

Artists and Suppliers 

We are fortunate that all our artists and suppliers agreed contracts with us that could potentially be cancelled or postponed. Our agreement means we can reschedule the event to take place if it is mutually agreeable by both parties.

The pace of the current rate of transmission and the impact this is likely to have on the event sector means we are having to act swiftly to scope whether our artists can move their show to another date. This is also happening at a time when artists and their managers are likely to be off for Christmas which in some cases means we won’t know until the first week of January.

Customers 

Our next agreement is with our customers.  We were explicit with them at the point of transaction that the event may need to be postponed and that we would offer them an alternative.

UK Law says that customers have 60 days to ask for a refund from the announcement of the reschedule.

You can read our terms and conditions here

As we announced our postponement, we decided to give customers the option of requesting an immediate refund without having to wait for us to reschedule as we have a great relationship with our customers, and we don’t want to hold onto money that could be put towards something else like another Christmas gift.

All our ticket income is in a holding account ready to be refunded or put towards the artistic or production costs. Given how much we have invested in developing the festival programme and building an audience, it really will be much better for more people if audiences are up for rescheduling.

A lot of our customers have sent us messages saying they just want us to keep the money as they know we will put it good use, and usually we would love this, but if that means that we have empty seats in our venue, we could lose out twice as we depend on the bar and café income to keep us afloat. The current drop-off rate (customers not showing up) is 30% across the industry.

So far 2% of our customers have asked for an immediate refund.  Over the next four weeks (withstanding seasonal office closures), we will be rescheduling the entire festival, and keeping in contact with all our customers to give them the option.

As well as that, our entire Burns Night programme is going online so we are also pulling out the stops to be able to stage a free event on the 25th of January that will offer our beloved audiences something to look forward to in the depths of winter.

To request a refund, please visit here.

If you have any questions, or would like to provide feedback, please email us here.

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Big Burns Supper is a trading name of Electric Theatre Workshop which is a registered charity number SCO42897.
Registered as a company number SC414600 Big Burns Supper, Carlisle Fringe and Le Haggis are registered trademarks.