Music festivals and outdoor events

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Music festivals are high-risk business ventures, susceptible to major changes or cancellations due to a unique set of planning challenges, such as inclement weather, natural disasters, venue suitability, and artist availability. 

When things go wrong and a festival is cancelled or does not match the description, organisers sometimes have difficulty in providing refunds.  There is also confusion around the legal liability of ticketing agents.  The result is that consumers may be left out of pocket up to $300 for the ticket, as well as consequential losses for travel and accommodation, in some cases.

  • If a music festival or other event is cancelled, ticket-holders may be entitled to a full refund from the company that sold them the ticket.
  • If the event goes ahead but is significantly different from what was advertised, ticket-holders may also have a right to a refund on the grounds they were misled or deceived, or because they would otherwise not have agreed to buy the ticket in the first place, had they known the line up – or any other important feature – would change so much.
  • Always check terms and conditions before buying tickets to any event and keep all information you have about it, including ticket receipts, in case of any dispute later.
  • The terms and conditions of your ticket is your contract with the ticketing agent you bought it from. If you have suffered a financial loss due to a festival cancellation, such as cancelling your flights or accommodation, contact your ticketing agent first.
  • It's safest to buy tickets via a secure online transaction with a reputable seller. In the case of something going wrong with the event, you will have electronic records of your purchase.
  • Consumers who buy tickets with a credit card may also be able to seek a chargeback from their bank, if they are unsuccessful in obtaining a refund from the ticket seller. 

For further information and top tips visit the Australian Consumer Law Music Festivals page.

Ticket on-selling and scalping

While ticket on-selling is not illegal in Australia, there are risks associated with doing so. There are a number of things to consider as a consumer and as an event organiser to ensure these risks are kept to a minimum. More information on risks and how to protect yourself is available from Ticket on-selling and scalping factsheet

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