Here is your opportunity to help improve our business. Fewer and fewer shows have it in their prospectus that an application is a commitment to show, but there are still shows that once they get your payment it never comes back regardless of your situation.
Can you help educate these shows? Show organizers do read this site and modify operating procedures. To my mind all shows should have a policy that states that artists can get their money back if they cancel the show within a certain period of time, perhaps minus a service fee.
Artists double book and it is not in a show's best interest to not refund fees. It inhibits artist applications. Friendly monetary policies help grow shows.
Have you run into any shows lately that require money up front and then will not refund? How important is this to you?