Paul McCartney slams Italian government's "outrageous" policy preventing ticket refunds

Paul McCartney has criticised the Italian government for their “outrageous” decision to implement a policy that prevents music fans from receiving a full refund for Italian shows that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

McCartney’s ‘Freshen Up’ tour was due to stop at a number of cities in Europe this summer, including Naples (June 10) and Lucca (June 13). The live dates were, however, cancelled last month as a result of the ongoing health crisis.

McCartney spoke to disgruntled fans on Facebook yesterday (June 10) to voice his dismay over the Italian government’s policy, which rules that fans will only be offered vouchers (that are valid for 18 months) to compensate for any cancelled gigs. The directive was passed following a recommendation from the live music promoter Assomusica.

McCartney told fans that when the decision to cancel the ‘Freshen Up’ European tour was made, it was done so in the belief that all fans would receive a full refund.

“It is outrageous that those who have paid for their tickets are not getting their money back,” McCartney said in a post that was written in Italian (via The Guardian). “Without the fans there would be no live entertainment. We strongly disagree with what the Italian government are doing.

“A full refund was offered to all fans from other countries that we would visit this summer. The Italian organiser of our shows and the Italian legislators must do the right thing in this case.

“We are all extremely sorry that the shows cannot take place, but this is a real insult to the fans.”

Paul McCartney; outtakes
Paul McCartney (Picture: Getty)

Promoters D’Alessandro & Galli claimed in response that McCartney and his team had been “perfectly aware” of the voucher policy before his gigs were cancelled.

“We fully understand the bitterness of the artist who cared about these two concerts that would mark his return to Italy, as well as we understand his displeasure in the face of the discomfort that his fans will have to sustain by not receiving a direct refund but by voucher,” the company said in a statement [translated from Italian].

“This reimbursement formula is an extraordinary measure that Paul McCartney’s staff was perfectly aware of before the cancellation and which, as is well known, was established by the Italian Government to deal with an unprecedented crisis that risked giving a shot fatal to the live music industry and the approximately 400,000 workers who are part of it and who risk not being able to work for a year.”

The promoters said that they are also “committed for 2021 to recover almost all the shows scheduled for 2020 and we are working to add others”.

Last week, Paul McCartney spoke out about the death of George Floyd, calling for justice for his family and “all those who have died and suffered” because of police brutality.