CULTURE

Full refunds for Stones tickets after pressure

Responding to persistent pressure, on the part of both local media and agitated fans, the organizer of the canceled Rolling Stones show in Athens has announced that full refunds are now being provided for the veteran band’s highly anticipated show which never made it to the Greek capital. Disappointed by the legendary band’s cancellation of a performance scheduled for June 25 – one of several European dates that was scrapped after an injury was sustained by guitarist Keith Richards – fans were further set back when a percentage of the ticket price, amounting to the box-office charge, was withheld from their refunds. Didi Music, the event’s organizer, released a statement late last week saying that the box-office charge was now being included in the refund program. It had been withheld initially, the promoter contended, because the ticketing agency, a foreign-based firm, refused to return revenues generated for a service that had already been provided. In its statement, Didi noted that it had defied the international ticketing business’s practice of not refunding box office charges to ticket holders. Tickets, one should remember, were selling for between 78 and 297 euros. The dispute prompted government officials as well as consumer protection groups to step in and condemn the organizer. Also, groups of disappointed ticket holders threatened to join forces and take legal action against the concert’s organizer. In response, Didi Music responded by saying that it was doing its utmost to fully compensate the concert-going public, which it noted has been a loyal supporter of its business activities. It has been reported that nearly 45,000 tickets were snapped up by eager fans in the months preceding the concert’s cancellation. Didi Music, organizer of the annual Rockwave Festival over the past decade, an event that has attracted major international acts, among them Iggy Pop, Portishead, REM, Patti Smith, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, ranks as one of the country’s biggest concert promoters.