Wilco-hosted destination event Sky Blue Sky is due to take place at Riviera Maya, Mexico’s Hard Rock Hotel resort from January 17th–21st. As with all events set to take place amid the Omicron variant’s current surge, fans, artists, and promoters alike have been forced to remain on their toes and adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation.
Sky Blue Sky, produced by Cloud 9 Adventures, The Bowery Presents, and Higher Ground Presents, has been clear on its “no refunds” policy since its announcement and initial on-sale in May of 2021, but as Omicron cases continue to surge, some fans are urging the promoters to change their stance.
A petition has made the rounds in recent weeks lobbying for Sky Blue Sky ticket refunds due to the present pandemic situation. Rolling Stone reports that Cloud 9 sent an email to ticket-holders on January 1st stating that “economic realities restrict [them] from offering full refunds.”
In the petition, fans express concerns about required quarantine time in Mexico should they test positive during or after the event. In a statement to Pitchfork, a representative for Cloud 9 said, “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.”
“As the 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.”
Promoters have offered ticket-holders an alternate way to back out of their Sky Blue Sky plans, waiving all transfer fees up to the time of check-in for anyone who wants to sell off their packages. For more details, click here.
Cloud 9 also put out a statement to patrons via its own social media accounts on Sunday in reference to its various upcoming events in Mexico, including Sky Blue Sky and several others:
We hear you. We are reading every single email. Our team is small and we may not always have the answers, but we are getting through your questions as efficiently and thoroughly as we can. We understand you’re anxious. We also understand many of you need these shows. These vacations. These experiences.
If we’ve been quieter than usual, it’s because we are working tirelessly to prepare for our events while navigating this complex and evolving situation. While we wish there was a solution to make everyone happy, some ideas just aren’t viable. Some of you are asking us to cancel. Many others are begging us not to. As of now, we are moving forward as planned.
We are experienced professionals and music fans just like you. We are all adapting and believe that concerts can adapt too. Our events are designed to be intimate, with limited capacities and plenty of room to spread out. We have consciously planned so every show, activity, and meal can be enjoyed outside in the open air.
Our safety and medical staff are the best of the best, including a COVID compliance team. We’ve consulted with local authorities and an epidemiologist, changed our reservation policies, adjusted arrival protocols to keep up with the CDC’s ever-changing information, all with everyone’s best interest in mind.
Thank you for your continued patience. More event details will be sent to all booked guests leading up to the event. Until then, turn up your favorite playlist, take care of yourselves and be kind to one another.
Wilco had previously noted in a statement to Rolling Stone that it doesn’t have control over whether the event offers refunds. “With respect to the Sky Blue Sky festival,” the band maintained in a statement, “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 promoter, Cloud 9, is solely responsible for and determines all ticketing policies, including pricing and availability of refunds or credits.”
As frontman Jeff Tweedy offered in his own terms during a livestream on January 6th: “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 [expletive] anybody over. I think there are a lot of rocks and a lot of hard places to be in on this particular topic.”
This all comes in the aftermath of Dead & Company‘s canceled Playing In The Sand destination event, also in Riviera Maya. Prior to CID Presents‘ last-second cancellation of the event on Friday, the promoter relented to a similar petition and opened up a refund window for ticket-holders. All ticket-holders for Playing In The Sand were eventually offered full refunds upon its cancellation.
[H/T Brooklyn Vegan]