Fair Trading minister says Rewind ticket holders entitled to refunds

Bananarama will still perform at the Rewind Festival amid controversy surrounding the event's change of venue.
Bananarama will still perform at the Rewind Festival amid controversy surrounding the event's change of venue.

Rewind Festival ticket holders are entitled to a refund because ‘‘it is no longer the same event’’ the Fair Trading minister has said.In a statement released a short time ago, Anthony Roberts said moving the festival from Kembla Grange to Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion meant it was no longer the same event as originally promoted.‘‘Simply put, it is no longer the same event and consumers should be given the option of a full refund,’’ he said.He said his department had received 36 complaints in the past two days and Fair Trading would ‘‘pull out all the stops’’ to assist people seeking refunds.The minister said he was ‘‘alarmed’’ by reports the festival’s organisers were refusing to give refunds.‘‘It is estimated that thousands of tickets have been sold to this event and I urge all dissatisfied consumers to assist Fair Trading with its investigation by lodging a complaint as soon as possible,’’ he said.The department yesterday said it would launch an investigation into the Rewind fiasco.Earlier today ticket holders started a social media campaign to secure refunds as the controversy surrounding the event spread internationally.A Facebook page entitled Rewind Ticket Refunds had attracted more than 100 fans this afternoon, with many posting comments calling on people to contact the organisers directly to express their frustrations.One post featured the personal mobile numbers of festival promoters Shane Sanderson and Terry Youngman.Mr Sanderson did not return the Mercury’s calls yesterday.Meantime, the Facebook page of a UK festival which shares a name with the much-maligned event was also been inundated with complaints by ticket holders mistakenly linking the two.The organisers of the 80s’ Rewind Festival, held in Scotland and England were eventually forced to issue a statement distancing themselves from the Australian event.‘‘We are not happy about it either; Rewind in Australia is not the same organisation as in England and Scotland,’’ the statement read in part.The change of venue was announced on Thursday via a statement from the festival’s publicity team which blamed predicted heavy rain in the lead-up to the event.The Hordern Pavilion was apparently chosen because the "majority of tickets sold are from Sydney".But in an indication that lack of ticket sales may have contributed to the venue change, the Hordern Pavilion has capacity for about 5500 people - almost two-thirds less than the estimated figure of 15,000 people promoters suggested may come to Kembla Grange each day.The organisers had also failed to secure the required development approval to host the festival.The announcement was further soured as festival goers discovered four iconic bands had been scrapped from the line-up in the wake of the change - Kool and the Gang, The Human League, Sister Sledge and Candi Staton.Still-scheduled performers include Australian acts Pseudo Echo and Mental As Anything and international icons Kim Wilde and Right Said Fred.Tempers were inflamed further when, in a terse post on the festival’s Facebook page, organisers remained firm on refusing to refund ticket prices."We have looked at the refund policies and it’s quite clear that refunds will only be given in the event of cancellation or postponement," the post said."This is not the case, the event is going ahead."The part that is available for refunds would be camping tickets purchased."