Ticket-holders to the now-cancelled three-day electronic music festival that promoters had hoped to stage last weekend in Oro-Medonte continue to grow more frustrated with the lack of communication by event organizers about how — and when — they will be getting their money back.
On Aug. 12, the Ever After Music Festival “team” took to Instagram informing “adventurers” that an email had been sent out that contained all the information they would need on how to obtain a refund.
The event, which was slated to take place Aug. 12-14 at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds just north of Barrie, was cancelled after organizers failed to receive township approval for the necessary special-events permit. Councillors voted the permit down, citing concerns around the festival's operational planning.
On Aug. 16, festival officials posted an update on their Instagram account indicating that refunds had begun to be issued, but that they could take between 10 to 15 business days to be received.
“On Friday, ticket-holders were supposed to receive an email about options for refunds. I (knew) approximately 30 or more people going and they have all said no email has come through for them, either,” Brianna Cloud, 18, told BarrieToday.
Cloud, who had planned on travelling nearly 300 kilometres from her home in Lambton Shores to Oro-Medonte for the festival, also says her wristband for the event never arrived, despite being told it was shipped more than a month ago.
“The event being cancelled was very disappointing, as I’ve been looking forward to going to this festival since I was 16. But, with COVID shutting everything down, that didn’t happen,” she said.
Cloud also said the lack of communication on behalf of organizers has been “unprofessional. After being ignored or never getting an actual answer was crazy considering how much planning and money was put into this festival. It felt disrespectful considering how many people had the same experience with their response team.”
She says the experience has definitely impacted her decision to buy anything from Ever After or Unity Travel in the future, but noted she still plans to attend Lost Lands Music Festival, a similar type of festival, in the future.
“There are lot’s of festivals with good reputations, but Ever After definitely lost theirs — or what was left of it. I highly doubt anybody will buy from them in the future, if they ever attempt to have another festival again," Cloud said.
Brandon Parker, who purchased tickets for himself and his girlfriend as a Christmas present in 2019, told BarrieToday that despite the statements released by Ever After officials on social media, neither he nor anyone he knows who had purchased tickets have been contacted or received any emails from organizers
Between the tickets, camping and parking, Parker says he is out about $500 if he doesn’t get a refund.
“I would obviously like the money back, although I know of others who were supposed to attend the festival coming from outside the country, who had paid thousands of dollars with all expenses included,” said Parker, adding he also never received a ticket or wristband in the mail. “It’s definitely been frustrating trying to get any type of feedback from the organizers.
"I have gotten absolutely no responses to any of my messages via email. On Instagram, they blocked me from sending them any DMs (direct messages).”
The 27-year-old London, Ont., resident told BarrieToday he had attended the festival in 2019 and had a great time.
“It’s a real shame that the promoters didn’t organize the event well enough to be able to make this happen. I doubt that this festival would be back, but if it was I think they’re reputation is far beyond repair and nobody would buy tickets,” Parker said.
Parker noted ticket-holders from year’s past were supposed to receive a “free perk” — including their choice of free merchandise, drinks or other products, but said when he inquired about about it last month, he merely received an automated response email telling him he would receive a reply within seven to 10 business days.
“I thought this was strange, considering this was sent on July 16 and the festival was less than a month away at the time. An inquiry as small as this shouldn’t take seven to 10 business days to reply to, especially with the festival being less than a month away then,” he said. “I never ended up receiving a response to my emails about the perk, or about a credit/refund at all.
"There has been absolutely zero communication from the festival whatsoever, and I’m not getting my hopes up for that to change.”
Up until this year, the festival had taken place at Bingemans in Kitchener and had been organized by Beyond Oz Productions.
BarrieToday has learned that Beyond Oz Productions — which is also listed as as ICC Global Property Development Inc. in a Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records search — filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 14, 2021, claiming more than $5.6 million in total liabilities.
After being paused for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was taken over and organized by Unity Travel with hopes of moving it more than 200 kilometres north to Oro-Medonte Township.
BarrieToday's attempts to contact festival officials as well as Unity Travel were unsuccessful.
Andrea Calderon, associate director for the Get In! public relations firm based in Brooklyn, N.Y., which handled the distrubution of Ever After Music Festival's official statement confirming the event's cancellation, told BarrieToday in an email that she had not heard anything from the promoters since she's initially reached out with their official statement on Aug. 5. Calderon noted she was getting "complete radio silence" despite various attempts to make contact.
"We can't really do our job if we're just as in the dark as everyone else," she said.