British music legend Paul McCartney has criticised the Italian government for offering fans vouchers instead of refunds for his two concerts that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Beatle was scheduled to perform in the Italian cities of Naples and Lucca this week, however McCartney released an angry statement when he learned that fans were not getting their money back for the cancelled shows.
Assomusica, the official Italian promoters’ association, only offered ‘Macca’ fans vouchers instead of full refunds, according to reports.
The 77-year-old songwriter said: “It is outrageous that those who have paid for their tickets are not getting their money back. Without the fans there would be no live entertainment.”
The statement was written in Italian and posted on McCartney’s official Facebook page in the country.
The statement continued: “We strongly disagree with what the Italian government is doing. In every other country we were going to visit this summer, the fans have all been offered full refunds.
“The organiser of our shows and the Italian lawmakers must do the right thing here. We are all extremely disappointed the shows could not take place and this is a real insult to the fans.”
The cancelled shows in Naples and Lucca are expected to take place next year although a date has not been set yet.
Massimiliano Dona, president of the National Consumers Association, told local media: “All artists should share Paul McCartney’s position and join the consumers in this battle.
“We should ask for changes to this scandalous rule by (culture) minister (Dario) Franceschini, who came up with the voucher scheme instead of refunds.”
Naples mayor Luigi De Magistris said: “We hope this concert takes place next year after so much hard work, but the tickets should have been refunded, it is the correct thing to do to give the money back.”
Assomusica president Vincenzo Spera fired back: “Paul McCartney has made a huge mistake. He cancelled the dates, knowing how the situation is in Italy and what the consequences will be of this decision and if it isn’t rescheduled.”
“I do not accept lessons from him, if he was concerned about his audience, he could have accepted the request of a new date.”
Organisers also claimed that “this reimbursement formula is an extraordinary measure that Paul McCartney’s staff was perfectly aware of before the cancellation”.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Italy has registered 235,763 cases of COVID-19 and 34,114 related deaths.
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