Toronto ravers cry foul on Ever After Festival for abruptly cancelling without refunds
Some 15,000 electronic dance music fans were crushed this week to learn that a highly-anticipated festival near Toronto (Ever After) had been cancelled, for the third year in a row, with just one week's notice.
Bummer, right? But ticketholders aren't upset about the major festival being called off — at least not exclusively.
A lot of them (like, thousands of them) are furious with organizers for failing to properly plan the event in the first place... and for failing to refund anyone's money or announce intentions to do so.
Extremely poor way to handle the situation you’re in and extremely unprofessional response. Issue refunds to those that purchased tickets and claim your losses. I would not be surprised if a class action lawsuit is launched if tickets are not refunded.— Corey Dixon (@CoreyDixon33) August 4, 2022
First, for context, some background.
The 2022 Ever After Music Festival was initially scheduled to take place in Oro Medonte, just north of Barrie, at the Burl's Creek Event Grounds, from August 12 - 14.
Top billed headliners for the three-day event included SLANDER, Dillon Francis, REXX, AC Slater and Zeds Dead with Subtronics. Around 15,000 attendees were expected to attend shows each day, some 10,000 of them also camping on festival grounds throughout the weekend.
Needless to say, a lot of people spent a lot of money arranging for accomodations, gear, and time off work to attend the event.
But, as confirmed by the Township of Oro Medonte Thursday afternoon, the event had failed to "implement appropriate controls and public safety measures and requirements within an appropriate timeframe prior to commencement of the festival."
A little digging by CTV found that, despite ample time to get things in order, the festival's organizers hadn't even yet secured permission from the AGCO to serve booze.
They'd also failed to get an okay from Ontario Provincial Police to move ahead, prompting the OPP to say in a letter presented to the township last month that operation plans "lacked details regarding traffic planning and safety, missing persons, intoxicated persons and drug disposal."
Town releases statement— Stefan Ottenbrite (@StefanM411) August 5, 2022
Ever after music festival pic.twitter.com/eN8Qk8JNit
"They sold thousands of tickets without even getting a special event permit, and advertised it at Burl's creek, and Burl's Creek City Council denied the permit, and the promoter is not issuing refunds," said an industry insider who does not wish to be named to blogTO on Friday.
"People are up in arms... It's not right. Concertgoers are getting screwed in many ways this season after two years of no shows."
The insider explained that many ticketholders had actually purchased their passes all the way back in 2019, before Ever After 2020 was cancelled on account of COVID.
Others bought theirs for the (also-cancelled) 2021 festival. More still bought their tickets this year to attend what was billed as a newly-expanded festival at the sprawling Burl's Creek venue.
What all of these people share in common is that nobody knows what the heck is going on with the money they've already spent on tickets and campground spots.
A conciliatory message posted by festival organizers to Instagram on Friday, in which they essentially blame the whole mess on township officials and mention nothing about refunds, has only prompted more anger and confusion.
Ever After Music Festival is cancelled. No word yet on any refunds for ticket holders, or what options people have if they booked offsite accommodations. pic.twitter.com/6IZ3ymrHC3— Vidman 📺 Dan Lauckner (@vidman) August 5, 2022
A local rave community Facebook group is filled with venomous comments and ominous predictions about why Ever After was cancelled, and what ticketholders should prepare themselves for.
"They legit lied about mailing out wristbands & booking the hotels they had posted in the hotel packages. I fully believe they had no intentions of running this festival," reads one comment on the page.
"Don't hold your breath on [an] email," advised another commenter. "They couldnt even get their repurposing list correct. In about a week from now they will file bankruptcy and we wont hear from them again."
"They're about to file bankruptcy so everyone go call your credit cards and dispute the charge (request a chargeback) before they're officially bankrupt," said another attendee similarly about the festival's organizers.
"They dont have anyone's money so dont even bother trying to get a refund from them. I just disputed my ticket charge on my card (TD Visa) right before this announcement came out."
While the festival has turned off commenting on its latest two Instagram posts, both of which confirm the event's cancellation but make no mention of refunds, older Instagram posts are filled with the voices of angry ticketholders.
The organizers of Ever After have yet to respond to repeated requests for comment from blogTO through email, phone or direct message.
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