Pemberton Music Festival 2017 has been cancelled.
Documents obtained by Global News and CKNW from accounting firm Ernst & Young show that “decreased ticket sales and increased operating losses” have forced the festival to apply for bankruptcy.
But this could be bad news for fans who’ve already shelled out for a ticket. According to the document, there will be no automatic refunds for ticket holders.
“As PMF is now in bankruptcy, it has no ability to provide refunds for tickets purchased. However, ticket holders may file a proof of claim form as an unsecured creditor with EYI in accordance with the claims process.”
But that claim doesn’t guarantee customers the full amount they paid. In fact, it doesn’t guarantee them their money at all.
“A determination of recovery, if any, on the claims of ticket holders from the estate will not be known for several weeks.”
The mother of a teen girl who was planning to attend the Pemberton Music Festival says her daughter is upset that she might be out hundreds of dollars.
Melissa Mitchell says her 19-year-old daughter makes minimum wage and had to save up for a month to be able to afford tickets for the four-day festival.
“This is the first time we’ve given them an opportunity to go by themselves and to check out the world, and do what they want to do. And they’ve saved up money when they don’t make very much, and they had to pay for it themselves – and to hear that it’s cancelled, they’re totally disappointed.”
She adds this is the only time her daughter and her daughter’s best friend would be able to do something together due to their busy schedules.
However, refunds may be available to ticket holders from third parties if tickets were purchased using a credit card.
Those same documents suggest the festival has run into significant financial trouble, having brought in just over $8.2-million in revenue, with $22-million in budgeted expenses.
The festival also owes its creditors approximately $2.5 million U.S.
The documents state ticket sales in 2017 were down to an average of just over 18,000 per day, less than half of the over 38,000 per day sold last year.
However, that still leaves a total of almost 55,000 fans possibly without recourse.
The event had been scheduled to take place from July 13-16, and up until 3 p.m. on Thursday, tickets were still for sale on the Pemberton Festival website.
— Matt Lee (@mattlee980) May 18, 2017
The festival had also tweeted as recently as Wednesday, with everything appearing normal.
As of just after the announcement, there was no sign of the bankruptcy on the Pemberton Music Festival website.
That has since changed, with a banner explaining the situation blocking prospective buyers from purchasing tickets.
People online were quick to react to the news:
I swear if @Pemberton_Fest doesn't refund me….
— Jessica Brown (@JessicaMABrown) May 18, 2017
If I don't get automatically refunded I'm coming for you…. @Pemberton_Fest
— Meghan (@_meghanrae) May 18, 2017
— brady berisoff (@bradybearisoff) May 18, 2017
@Pemberton_Fest you guys literally jus dropped the lineup and hyped everyone one jus to ruin everyone's summer. Smh.
— AK™ (@AnthonyKucharek) May 18, 2017
I feel for anyone who bought @Pemberton_Fest tickets. What an embarrassing display.
— Matt Van Boeyen (@MattVanBoeyen) May 18, 2017
the least you could do is give us our money back @Pemberton_Fest
— lindsay larson (@lmnlindz) May 18, 2017
In response to the announcement, music festival producer Huka Entertainment has released a statement.
“For the past four years Huka Entertainment has worked to create a one-of-a-kind experience in the most beautiful place on earth. We are heartbroken to see the 2017 Pemberton Music Festival cancelled.”
“As a contract producer, Huka did not make the decision to cancel the Festival. That decision was made by the Pemberton Music Festival, LP. We are extremely disappointed for our fans, artists and all of our partners who have supported the festival over the years.”
Bad news for many ticket holders
A bankruptcy trustee is advising anyone with tickets for Pemberton Music Festival to prepare for the worst.
Speaking on the Steele and Drex show, Sands & Associates’ Blair Mantin says not everyone can expect a refund.
“If you paid on credit card, that’s going to be your best recourse because you can go through the chargeback process with the credit card because obviously the services won’t be provided. But it’s unfortunate for me to be the person breaking this news if that’s the case, because if you didn’t pay on credit card, odds are you’ll be lucky to recover very much.”
The Senior Vice President for Ernst & Young says he knew the festival would be filing for bankruptcy earlier this week, but tickets were for sale on the festival’s website until Thursday afternoon.
With files from Jill Bennett, Kyle Benning, Estefania Duran and Tristan Martin-Woodhouse