The organisers of a Perth festival that was hoping to “bring Bali to Australia” have been forced to apologise and issue mass refunds after the event left many underwhelmed and disappointed.
Bali Fest, in the Perth suburb of Mandurah, kicked off on April 2 and is due to end on April 6.
The event, which sold tickets for $30, marketed itself as “bringing Bali and its culture, food, entertainment, shopping and leisure lifestyle to Australia”, while also donating money to the Balinese people.
Dozens of people took to Bali Fest’s Facebook page to call for refunds and question what they were getting for their entry fee.
John Geoghegan attended the festival on Saturday and spent less than an hour there, describing the experience as “grossly disappointing”.
“Wandered around the stalls which were a disappointment because these were what we would expect to find anywhere in a weekend market with FREE entry,” he said.
“Bought some tickets to support the Bali Relief Fund. Wandered around the food trucks and bought something to eat and drink. Again, these were what we would expect anywhere the food trucks operate for FREE.”
“Ready to leave by 11.15am as nothing happening in the bar area. So what do you get for your entry fee? Still trying to work that out.
“Grossly disappointing and would not recommend anyone paying a fee to enter considering you still had to pay for everything inside as well.”
Gail Barrett told Perth Nowshe was lodging a complaint with the ACCC and said the festival was nothing like what she experienced on her holidays to Bali.
“It was nothing like Bali, there were hardly any stalls open or food trucks promoting Bali cuisine, or any cultural dancers…it was absolute false advertising,” she told the publication.
“I will be lodging a complaint and I want to see a report of where the money they’ve raised actually goes to the charities.”
Bali Fest organisers apologise to those ‘underwhelmed’ by event
The organisers of Bali Fest took to Facebook late last night to apologise and offer refunds.
“We’re taking this opportunity after several days of the festival to publicly apologise to those who have expressed that they feel lied to and underwhelmed by the whole event,” the organisers said.
“We would also like to wholeheartedly apologise to the Balinese community who were offended by our lack of cultural representation.
“This event was always meant to be a celebration of entertainment and culture while bringing awareness to the struggle in Bali due to COVID, clearly we got this very wrong.”
The organisers said they were “trying to bring the relaxed Bali lifestyle where you can sit back and enjoy some cold Bintangs with live music” but also to support local West Australian artists.
The organisers said everyone involved in Bali Fest had “genuinely put in a lot of effort to put on a great experience for people and follow through with everything that was promised”.
The team said it was “without question” that the right thing to do was “to offer full refunds to those who have expressed their disappointment”.
Organisers started processing refunds last night and are continuing today.
“Please contact us immediately if you felt the same and we will process as soon as possible, just provide us with your order number,” the team said.
“As we have committed to vendors, local artists and local workers we will still be running tomorrow and Tuesday, however due to the public dissatisfaction we have allowed some vendors to bump out and therefore we will not be running at full capacity, the live music, bar and remaining supporting vendors will continue to operate.
“As such we will refund tickets for the next 2 days and welcome anyone to attend free of charge.
“For those that came and enjoyed the day at the festival we thank you very much and our donation from the Bintang sales will surely help the Bali Dog Association and the Lord Mayors Relief Fund.”
The organisers also clarified that it would be going ahead with donating to its nominated Balinese charities.
“We would also like to publicly clarify that we will be honouring the donations to the Balinese charities from ticket sales next week, and can only ask that those who receive refunds will donate to the cause themselves,” the organisers said.
“We are proud of our effort to fundraise but take every bit of feedback seriously and will use it as a lesson to improve and learn on our mistakes this time around.”