Sled Island organizers came out this week with the long-awaited news regarding refunds for ticket holders who lost out on several days’ worth of amazing music due to the flooding that rocked the city and forced thousands of people out of their homes.
Fortunate concert goers were able to see a few select acts earlier in the week, but by Thursday night, the handwriting was being washed off the wall for Sled ’13. Some venues lost power, some were completely flooded, and many of the bands and fans were forced to scramble for accommodations.
This caught the organizers – like the rest of us – completely off-guard. They had never once considered the possibility of such a large scale disaster landing right in the middle of their fun. Understandably, it took a while to not only recover from the shock, but come up with a cohesive plan of action going forward.
Nearly three-quarters of the operating expenses for the event were, in the end, non-refundable, but Sled Island has chosen to allow their fans to decide whether this event survives the floods in the end, rather than simply enforce a no-refund policy, which could aggravate and alienate some attendees.
Sled has done something pretty smart – they have offered their fans a refund if they want it, but also the option to either opt out, or re-invest in the event. Of course, this has the potential to backfire on the organizers, who could stand to lose up to $200,000 if everyone simply chooses to get their money back.
Instead, they are counting on the amazing spirit that Calgarians showed in spades during the crisis. I say, you need to reward them for trying, and live up to the type of supporter they hope you are.
Yes, tickets are pricey, and very few people likely have a few hundred bucks lying around that they could just leave on the table in a normal circumstance. And of course, for those who scrimped and saved to get to Sled, I wouldn’t begrudge them getting the refund to help with everyday expenses.
For the rest of us, I see this as an opportunity to invest in the future of Sled – a future that would likely be in grave danger without the generosity of their former pass holders.
Don’t do it for the tax receipt. Don’t do it for the EXP Pass for the Calgary International Film Fest. Don’t do it for the commemorative shirt. Do it because you want to see a Sled ’14. Do it because the parts of Sled ’13 that you got to see where amazing, and worth a lot more than money can account for.
Reinvest, and let’s see what next year brings us.