Drip World: Angry Fans Dub Event ‘Fyre Festival Australia’ Over Refund Delay
The Drip World festival was meant to be held in September but it was suddenly postponed days before the first concert, six weeks later angry music fans are still waiting for their refunds.
Promoter Yellow Live has promised every ticket holder will get their money back but that doesn't help the punters who forked out for accommodation and travel expenses to attend the festival.
Yellow Live initially promised punters a two week waiting period for their refunds, but that has blown out to six, and there's no end in sight.
The Drip World festival was set to begin its national run in Sydney on August 31, before visiting Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. A big hip-hop and R'n'B lineup had been booked, including Migos, Akon, Lil Xan and French Montana.
However, on August 26, Yellow Live revealed none of the dates would go ahead and it was "picking up the festival and moving it" to January 2020.
At the time the promoters cited "reasons beyond ours and the artist’s control" such as delays to artist visas.
10 daily has contacted management for the festival's headline artists for comment.
The festival has promised a "guaranteed 'like for like' or better" lineup for its new dates but also offered refunds to ticketholders -- some 50,000 nationwide -- who could not, or did not want to, attend the rescheduled concerts.
The abrupt date changes, lack of reasons why, delay in ticket refunds and silence as to which artists will be on the January lineup, have left some fans to question whether Drip World could be "Fyre Fest Australia".
Fyre Fest is in reference to 2017's infamous cancelled Bahamian music event, the subject of a Netflix documentary.
Some Drip World ticket holders told 10 daily they had endured delays and a lack of information from organisers.
When Yellow Live announced Drip World's postponement in August, the promoter said ticket refunds would be processed within 14 days once lodged, and that the details for the rescheduled concerts -- including dates and artist lineups -- would be announced by September 2.
But six weeks on, many fans say they have still not got their money and there has been silence for those who have held onto their tickets as to what is happening in January.
"I know a lot of people who have tickets, over 100, and nobody has got a refund," Sydney based ticket holder Tunde Cam told 10 daily.
"A group of 20 of us bought tickets together, none of us have refunds."
Cam said he and his friends had applied for refunds "the second we could", but are still waiting. They applied to get their money back on September 2.
Gold Coast punter Vanessa Mihova said she and her friends were "genuinely shocked" when Drip World suddenly rescheduled its dates.
She said her group had taken leave from work and booked hotel accommodation in Brisbane, which they had to cancel. She, too, is still waiting for a refund.
"To be told one week before the festival that the dates changed was not the news I wanted to hear. I paid for my ticket, spent money on outfits, took annual leave from work, planned everything," Perth ticketholder Brooke Hooper said.
But Yellow Live boss Lui Spedaliere has defended the delays and assured every customer who applied for a refund will get one.
She said the festival has extended the window during which refunds could be sought and apologised to existing ticketholders for not announcing new details about the rescheduled concerts yet.
"On the 2nd of September, we offered a refund to all ticket holders and we also expected to re-announce new festival dates on the same day. We anticipated a 14-day forecasting of around 20-25 percent of refunds," she said in a statement to 10 daily.
"However, since we are still waiting for visas and have not re-announced the new dates, the refund numbers have been significantly higher, requiring significant financial restructuring to complete the requested refunds.
"We also did not anticipate the amount of time to manually process each and every refund request after the first 14-day period along with answering all refund enquiry emails."
Spedaliere said the promotor initially believed the 14-day window was "feasible" to process Drip World refunds and said more than $1 million in refunds was processed in that period.
However, while they anticipated a quarter of ticketholders would request refunds, more than 50 percent of punters now want their money back.
"We are processing the refunds. But more importantly, we apologise to everyone for the delay," Spedaliere said.
Spedaliere said "100 percent" of tickets purchased through Moshtix and Ticketek, and 50 percent of tickets bought from the festival's website, have been refunded as of October 16.
Recent posts on the Drip World's Facebook and Instagram pages have been swamped with complaints about the refund delays.
Hundreds of people have commented on each post, many saying they have not yet received their money.
"It’s October and still haven’t got a refund, so much for two weeks," wrote one fan last week.
"Still no refund and requested about 3-4 weeks ago," said another on Monday.
A spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading told 10 daily it "has been engaged with the festival organiser who has indicated refunds have been processed or will be upon request."
Consumer Affairs Victoria said, "consumers are entitled to a full refund where an event’s date changes after the ticket has been purchased."
Mihova said she was still waiting for a refund after applying in early September.
She said she had initially wanted to wait for the new lineup before asking for her money back -- but when the September 2 deadline came and went, she decided to "play it safe".
"They said they'd fix up the new lineup, and they didn't do it. That's when I wanted the refund after I gave them the benefit of the doubt," she said.
Spedaliere apologised for the delay in announcing new festival details, but urged fans to be patient, with the new announcement to come "as soon as all the refunds are finalised."
"We still have uncertainty with some of the visa statuses for a couple of the headliners," she said.
"This uncertainty derailed the 2 September announcement, along with coordinating and rescheduling a large line-up, to this date we still do not have four critical visas."
Spedaliere said those with refund questions could email email@example.com.
Contact the journalist: Jobutler@networkten.com.au