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The Drop Festival 'Working Towards' Refunding Ticketholders Nearly Four Years After Cancelled Shows

18 December 2023 | 9:31 am | Jessie Lynch

The Drop festival was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID restrictions.

The Drop Australia

The Drop Australia (Instagram)

The Drop festival, which was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, has extended its timeline for refunding ticketholders to the end of 2024, making punters understandably frustrated.

As per information uncovered by Hack, shows were initially slated for March and April 2020 in Manly, Coolangatta, Torquay, and Busselton, before its cancellation, ticketholders were then told in March 2022 that refunds would be paid out by the end of that year.

However, in January 2023, the festival revealed plans to raise capital from new investors to organise events in 2023 to fulfill refund commitments. As of now, these plans have not materialised.

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Festival director Ken O'Brien responded to inquiries from Hack, stating: “We will be in a position to lay out a plan in the coming weeks, which we will, for working towards settling the refunds over the course of 2024. My priority now is to be part of a couple of other business interests that enable me to raise funds to pay out the refunds.”

Punters were further frustrated after discovering an event under the same name had been held in Japan, despite Australian concertgoers not yet receiving their refunded ticket money.

"As we all know, COVID hit in early 2020, pretty much destroying the financial position of The Drop business, therefore not allowing this venture to proceed," O'Brien said when asked about The Drop being held in Japan in 2023.

"For the obvious financial reasons and our inability to raise additional capital in the business, we were not able to take up our shareholding and, therefore didn't participate in the 2022 or 2023 events."

He added that the Australian business did not profit from the Japanese events using its name or logo.

"Again, because we were not in a financial position to proceed with taking up a shareholding in 2023, nor were there any Drop festival events in any other countries, we obviously had no right to charge a license fee for 2023."

Consumer Action Law Centre managing lawyer Lucas Rutten told Hack the festival organisers’ plan appeared "pretty problematic".

"Anytime when a business or a director would be saying, 'I don't have the money right now, but I'm just trying to get this venture off the ground', your gut reaction would say that doesn't sound particularly reliable," Rutten said.

However, he noted that the pandemic had resulted in businesses taking longer than usual to pay out refunds.

"There's a very long kind of tail of events that happens when an event as severe as COVID might happen. It takes oftentimes years for the machine to kind of turn and to get to the end of that process."