The Byron Blues Festival engaged in ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’ over its decision to introduce parking fees months after many people had already bought tickets to this year’s event, a tribunal has found.
The finding was made by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) last week after a frustrated ticket holder took the festival on over its paid parking plan.
Anthony Donnellan from Burleigh Heads claimed that he was entitled to a refund because he wasn’t told that he would have to pay up to $250 extra for parking at the time he bought his tickets.
The announcement about paid parking didn’t come until December 12 last year, more than seven months after early bird tickets first went on sale.
The NCAT upheld Mr Donnellan’s claim, ordering Bluesfest to immediately refund him the $1,200 he had spent on tickets.
The tribunal’s general member, William Priestley, said he had ordered the refund owing to ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’ on the part of Bluesfest.
Mr Donnellan said he hoped that Bluesfest would now waive the parking fees for those who had bought tickets prior to the December 12 announcement.
‘I’m very happy to be vindicated in the case and hope that Bluesfest management do the right thing by their loyal ticket holders’, Mr Donnellan said.
The decision could provide a precedent for other frustrated Bluesfest ticket holders to seek a refund, and could even force festival organisers to postpone the introduction of parking fees until 2020.
Bluesfest sought and was granted approval to introduce paid parking by Council last August. However, it has emerged that there remains a condition within the festival’s development application, clause 101, stating that paid parking must be included in the ticket price. The festival has sought to amend clause 101, with the matter currently on public exhibition.
Bluesfest’s media spokesperson told The Echo, ‘We are yet to receive the judgment, and will then seek legal advice regarding an appeal’.