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Pandemonium Rocks Punters Still Waiting For Promised Partial Refunds

The | May 20, 2024

Punters who requested partial refunds from Pandemonium Rocks Festival promoters have expressed their outrage on social media, claiming that weeks after the festival took place, they still haven’t received promised refunds.

Two of the festival’s four headliners—Deep Purple and Placebo—in addition to Dead Kennedys (who confirmed their exit independently), Gang Of FourGyroscope, and Petch departed Pandemonium weeks before the event was due to take place, while Palaye Royale became a late departure due to a family emergency, making it a one-stage event.

Alongside changes to the line-up, Pandemonium organisers announced that tickets for the Melbourne, Sydney and Gold Coast editions would drop to $190 ($70 less than the original price of $260), while Brisbane’s show would cost $165 to attend.

Pandemonium Rocks took place on Saturday, 20 April, at the Caribbean Gardens in Victoria, Thursday, 25 April (the ANZAC Day public holiday) at Sydney’s Cathy Freeman Park, Broadwater Parklands on the Gold Coast on Saturday, 27 April, and Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane on Sunday, 28 April (Blondie didn’t appear in Brisbane).

Those who bought tickets at the original price and wanted a refund had three options: a partial refund of $70, an extra ticket for free, or an exclusive hoodie (said to be valued at $100) that wasn’t sold at the festival.

According to Joel King, Chief Operating Officer of The Brag Media and Rolling Stone AU/NZ who has been tracking the developments on his personal Facebook page, it is unclear whether any patrons have received their promised refunds.

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One of the commenters on his post claimed that they (in a party of six) travelled to Australia from New Zealand for the festival and spent “a shitload of dollars” for “half of what was promised”. Another Facebook user said they were “in this for $140”, while someone else commented that they’d given up: “I’m just going to forget about it, I’m over all the bullshit”.

Over on the Pandemonium Advice Facebook group, punters have been discussing the difficulties of accessing refunds.

Last week, one Facebook user alleged that Pandemonium Rocks festival “disputed” their chargeback claim for a refund from their bank, with others claiming they had been struggling to get their money back from their respective financial institutions.

Another person in the Pandemonium Advice group claimed they hadn’t received a partial refund or hoodie and alleged they were “one of the suckers who had their data breached” in the lead-up to the festival.

More punters addressed the partial refunds situation on X (formerly known as Twitter).

One ticketholder asked if they were the only person still awaiting an allegedly missing partial refund and put a call out to see if anyone else received the promised $70 partial refund. Another X user reported that the Commonwealth Bank was paying its users refunds, but Westpac allegedly refused its customers.

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Punters recently started a petition demanding refunds and compensation, which received over 1,200 signatures. Signees commented that awaiting refunds that allegedly haven’t arrived has left them in “great distress”, the festival went ahead with alleged “false advertising”, and all the changes made it “totally unacceptable”.

The Music has contacted Pandemonium Rocks promoters for comment about the refund situation, but as of publication, has not received a response.

Last month, an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) spokesperson said punters had a good chance of obtaining a full refund “if an event was significantly changed, including change to a headline act,” ABC reports.

A legal expert, Professor Therese Wilson—the Dean of Griffith Law School—said getting a refund would have to come down to events becoming a “major failure”, explaining that “It would be regarded as a major failure if a reasonable consumer would not have purchased the ticket if they’d known of the changes.”

Wilson added. “I do think that there is a case that a reasonable consumer would not have purchased the tickets in the first place, given the changes that have been made.”

If obtaining a chargeback from your bank is unsuccessful, the ACCC spokesperson and Wilson advised ticketholders seeking refunds to contact Oztix or the event organiser, Apex Entertainment, before taking the issue to a consumer protection agency or the Office of Fair Trading.

Pandemonium organisers said of the impact of the line-up changes at the time, “We acknowledge the current state of the Australian economy and the cost of living crisis, of which we’re constantly reminded of by the media.

“This cost of living crisis has impacted the live music touring industry significantly and forced many other festivals and tours, sadly, to cancel. Pandemonium is not one of those, and despite aforementioned national issues, our festival is moving forward.”

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