Bali Fest Mandurah organisers issue apology and refunds to ticketholders after flood of complaints
Bali Fest organisers have issued a public apology and vowed to pass on full refunds after receiving a flood of complaints from festival punters who claimed they were “lied to” and “underwhelmed by the event”.
The $30 Eventbrite ticketed event has been bagged by festival goers since it opened in Mandurah on Friday, with the promise of “bringing Bali and its culture, food, entertainment, shopping and leisure lifestyle to Australia” while making donations to struggling Balinese people.
But dozens of attendees took to social media to express their disappointment over the disastrous event.
While the organisers promoted a “Bali beach experience” on the foreshore, visitor Joshua Kaan said he and his family “did not get anything remotely close to a Bali experience”.
“I actually feel sorry for all the people who paid for the tickets believing they were getting what was advertised,” Mr Kaan said.
“It was a real waste of money that could have been just donated directly to the people that needed it in Bali.”
The Perth dad was just one of many to complain about the “disappointing” experience, with several lodging complaints to the ACCC and demanding refunds online.
Gail Barrett , who holidays in Bali, said there was a lack of cultural awareness at the event and it did not represent the Balinese community as promised.
“It was nothing like Bali, there were hardly any stalls open or food trucks promoting Bali cuisine, or any cultural dancers…it was absolute false advertising,” Ms Barrett said.
“I will be lodging a complaint and I want to see a report of where the money they’ve raised actually goes to the charities.”
Bali Fest Australia organisers took to social media to apologise for the widespread dissatisfaction and offer refunds last night.
“We're taking this opportunity after several days of the festival to publicly apologise to those who have expressed that they feel lied to and underwhelmed by the whole event,” a post on the event’s Facebook page said.
“We would also like to whole heartedly apologise to the Balinese community who were offended by our lack of cultural representation.
“We are proud of our effort to fundraise but take every bit of feedback seriously and will use it as a lesson to improve and learn on our mistakes this time around.”
The organisers said it was “without question” right to offer full refunds to disappointed patrons and insisted they had already started processing refunds.
But the event will continue to run today and tomorrow, due to its commitment to the vendors, local artists and workers who were taking part.
“However due to the public dissatisfaction we have allowed some vendors to bump out and therefore we will not be running at full capacity, the live music, bar and remaining supporting vendors will continue to operate,” they organisers said.
“As such we will refund tickets for the next 2 days and welcome anyone to attend free of charge.”
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