Does III Points Owe LCD Soundsystem Fans a Refund?
Photo by Alex Markow
I won't keep you waiting in suspense for the answer to the question in this headline: No.
Why? Because you didn't buy a ticket for an LCD Soundsystem show; you bought a ticket for a music festival that happened to feature LCD Soundsystem on the bill.
All weekend long, New Times received complaint after complaint demanding this publication "do something" about a cancelation that III Points didn't have much control over. There were also some bizarre conspiracy theories circulating that the festival never booked LCD Soundsystem to begin with and had only used the band's name to drum up ticket sales.
Really? Do you think, month after month, LCD Soundsystem would have allowed III Points to use its name on the bill without sending a pack of rabid lawyers to South Florida? Never mind that on Saturday afternoon, the band confirmed on its Facebook page that the logistics of getting everyone to Miami proved to be too big an obstacle to overcome. That alone puts silly theories like that to rest.
Look, I'm with you in feeling extremely disappointed that I didn't get to see the band at III Points. (In fact, the week before Hurricane Matthew approached Florida, I wrote on my Facebook page, "I swear to fucking god if Hurricane Matthew prevents me from seeing LCD Soundsystem next week, I'm going to cause more destruction to Miami than any hurricane would." And, yes, I look back at that comment with embarrassment at my bratty attitude.) But I still made the best of my III Points experience — which wasn't hard to do — and saw a lot of performances I'll never forget from acts like Chrome Sparks, Ta-ku, and Sophie. (And, yes, I'm fully aware that because I was provided a complimentary media badge, perhaps my disappointment in LCD canceling was tempered because I didn't have any financial stake.)
Still, cancelations at music festivals are more common than you think.
In 2009, Amy Winehouse pulled out of Coachella because of she couldn't get a visa to the U.S. because of her legal troubles. She was replaced by M.I.A., who gave a performance that was widely panned for not living up to a headlining act's duties.
Locally, Avicii pulled out of Ultra Music Festival in 2014 after he suffered a medical emergency the week of the festival. He was replaced by DJ/professional troll Deadmau5. And just last year, again at Ultra, the Prodigy pulled out due to medical reasons.
In all cases, I can assure you there were a lot of disappointed people. And both those festivals, which are undoubtedly better established than III Points and have larger coffers at their disposal, had the luxury of being able to find replacements rather quickly. The chance that III Points was going to find another headliner on par with LCD Soundsystem in 24 hours was next to impossible for the 4-year-old festival. Organizing a tour for any band is a logistical nightmare that takes months of planning and preparation, and getting someone to the southern tip of Florida adds to the difficulty.
And a cancelation isn't the worst thing that could happen. Imagine the band of your dreams showing up to a festival only to have technical difficulties prevent them from performing. That happened to me in 2012 at Ultra when the act I wanted to see the most, M83, was only able to perform two songs of a planned 50-minute set because of technical issues. (Ultra adheres to a very strict schedule in order to not go beyond the noise curfew.) Shit happens, and I had to swallow my disappointment.
Sure, you could argue that because of goodwill, III Points should do something to make it up to the people who at least purchased Friday-only tickets — and it did, by offering Friday ticket-holders access to Sunday's performances.
In the end, when you purchased your tickets, the fine print said, "NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGE.... ARTIST AND SET TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE." It's a standard clause that most – if not all – music festivals include on ticket-sale pages.
If you don't want to take the risk of missing out on your favorite band, I suggest you wait until they go on a headlining tour where the guarantee is: If the main act doesn't perform, you'll get your money back.
In the meantime, we'll all have to wait and see if LCD Soundsystem makes good on its quasi-promise of "[needing] to figure out something in miami [sic] when we can." Let's hope whatever needs figuring out happens fast.
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