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Image for Truth, Lies and Rumours: One on One with Playground Weekender

Truth, Lies and Rumours: Oneon One with PlaygroundWeekender

For the last five years Sydney-siders have summoned their fading festival spits, donned ridiculous accoutrements and partied the summer away at Playground Weekender. For many dedicated attendees, warm nights dancing wildly, even warmer days bobbing around in murky waters and an eclectic lineup of artists made the annual pilgrimage to Del Rio Resort unmissable.

This year however, with cars packed and costumes already hired, festival attendees were told 24 hours out from the event that Playground 2012 was cancelled due to risk of “major flooding”. Since then the situation has only worsened for both festival organisers and ticket holders alike, with promoter Andy Rigby revealing that the event was was “not covered for natural disasters” and the money doesn’t exist to refund all ticket-buyers.

Several questions are now being asked of Playground Weekender, the most persistent being: why was the festival not insured for natural disasters? Following his statement that there’s unlikely to be a “positive end” to the flood fallout, I spoke to Rigby about what’s next.

Where did the last-minute cancellation leave stall owners and cabin holders?
The problem is at the moment is that we’ve paid out for the festival to happen. 36 hours before the event is the most critical, no turning back period for the festival. We’d paid for all the production, we’d paid for the artists, they were all here. The company itself is in a really tough position. It doesn’t have the resources just to return the money to everyone, which is the position we’ve been faced with. This year’s festival was probably going to be okay. We’d shrunk it down from a structural perspective, brought the cost down, and just scaled back to be safe in a tough festival environment. And then this happened.

Can you tell me about the insurance situation.
This is the worst part of it all. We don’t have the right insurance to cover this. You could call it poorly calculated: we had other forms of insurance, but the main focus is of course flooding. You make your own assessments from that. We looked at the dam levels, and everything was looking okay.

It’s also harder to get that insurance after what happened with the Queensland floods last year. Sitting here now, I wish we’d gone over hell and high water to change that. And it was a calculated risk that went wrong. There were reasons why we weren’t [insured for floods].

Comments

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mondo22

mondo22 said on the 19th Mar, 2012

It's all pretty sad. Ive pretty much let go of any hope of getting my money back but I'm not phased at all by that.
It's just a bit of a shit situation, but more so for the organisers than the punters.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

I think this is a bit of a dumb question:

The T&Cs state: “In the case of an Event cancellation, refunds will be provided to patrons who have purchased tickets for the cancelled Event.” So, is breach of contract an issue as well?
Perhaps, yeah, that’s something we’ll have to discuss with our legal team. The point we’re trying to make here is: if we have it, we’re going to give it straight back. If our company can’t pay it, well, we’ll become insolvent and we’ll wind it all up.

Of course Playground Weekender is liable for the money. The problem is they don't have any. Any ticket holder would be more than able to join the list of creditors. If you see a couple of cents out of every dollar at the end of the thing being wound up, you're probably doing well. In reality, for what is a few hundred dollars, it isn't worth the time or the effort.

Dexter Ramone

Dexter Ramone said on the 20th Mar, 2012

Such a horrible situation. I feel sick just thinking about how Andy and his team must feel

Lorraine

Lorraine said on the 20th Mar, 2012

"It's the worst thing in the world"
....
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-17/blasts-bring-death-to-heart-of-damascus/3896136

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

"It's the worst thing in the world"
....
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-18/car-bomb-explodes-in-alleppo/3897314

I'm sure he doesn't need to define that he's talking from his perspective.

Great read. FL is always coming up with the goods.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 20th Mar, 2012

God I hope the whole PGW team pull through. The 3 I went to were some of the best weekends ive had away. Made some amazing friends there and got to see some fantastic music.


ILU PGW <3

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 20th Mar, 2012



Absolutely.

I also have to say that I don't find it at all surprising they didn't have a flood insurance policy. The vast majority of businesses on flood plains that spend 365 days in areas with the potential to flood don't have it.

I also think that if people had been offered $10 flood insurance or something on every ticket, the vast majority wouldn't have taken it. I know I wouldn't have.

Jamezwm

Jamezwm said on the 20th Mar, 2012

So what about those events at the Beach Rd and Metro? Wasn't that the replacement?

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

"It's the worst thing in the world"
....
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-17/blasts-bring-death-to-heart-of-damascus/3896136

I'm sure he doesn't need to define that he's talking from his perspective.

Great read. FL is always coming up with the goods.

I'm sure he'd get a far worse reaction from punters if he said... it's not really a big deal. It's not like anyone died. Get over it.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

I don't think I've ever bought any type of ticket insurance.

Lorraine

Lorraine said on the 20th Mar, 2012



I mean, obviously. Jesus, I was just joking.

Personally, I think all the interviews he's done have been quite unprofessional. He tiptoes around all the legal issues, swears like he's having a tantrum, tries to get people on his side, without really admitting how badly he fucked up.

This is not the first year something bad has happened, it's just the first year he hasn't been able to mask a lot of the dodgy shit. One example: My flatmate is a journalist who interviewed a band last year that he owed thousands of dollars to for months, and eventually they had to pick it up, in cash, from the back of a Chinese restaurant in Cabramatta.

It's just all a bit dodgy. I do feel sorry for them, but mainly because I love the festival.


P.s. I got my money back.

crob

crob said on the 20th Mar, 2012

its been said many times, its very sad to see such a good festival come to a end in a way that wasn't there fault...

crob

crob said on the 20th Mar, 2012


This is not the first year something bad has happened, it's just the first year he hasn't been able to mask a lot of the dodgy shit. One example: My flatmate is a journalist who interviewed a band last year that he owed thousands of dollars to for months, and eventually they had to pick it up, in cash, from the back of a Chinese restaurant in Cabramatta.
.

I've heard that story before.... can't remember where

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

I mean, obviously. Jesus, I was just joking.

Personally, I think all the interviews he's done have been quite unprofessional. He tiptoes around all the legal issues, swears like he's having a tantrum, tries to get people on his side, without really admitting how badly he fucked up.

This is not the first year something bad has happened, it's just the first year he hasn't been able to mask a lot of the dodgy shit. One example: My flatmate is a journalist who interviewed a band last year that he owed thousands of dollars to for months, and eventually they had to pick it up, in cash, from the back of a Chinese restaurant in Cabramatta.

It's just all a bit dodgy. I do feel sorry for them, but mainly because I love the festival.


P.s. I got my money back.

And I smoked weed with Snoop Dogg and Britney Spears behind a used-car dealership in Fortitude Valley. What's your point?

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

Personally, I think all the interviews he's done have been quite unprofessional. He tiptoes around all the legal issues, swears like he's having a tantrum, tries to get people on his side, without really admitting how badly he fucked up.


I actually think it has been good. He's been very forthright with information.

I don't think he's skirted around the legal issues. They're insolvent. There is no money to pay anyone. That's what happens when a business goes bust.

I don't think you can really say it was all his fuck up. There is a huge amount of bad luck. I can't really imagine any Australian festival surviving if they were forcibly cancelled two days out from their event.

I can't really comment on the Chinese restaurant story. I've certainly heard it before and it does sound dodgy as all hell.

dankobiaka

dankobiaka said on the 20th Mar, 2012

Is the company now in administration? Why not?

Therefore, has Playground Festivals Pty Ltd broken the law by continuing to trade while insolvent?

Brian B

Brian B said on the 20th Mar, 2012

It was a Vietnamese restaurant, and the food is very good there.

grattan

grattan said on the 20th Mar, 2012


In the Herald:
In 2009, the Herald reported that Mr Rigby had advertised and sold tickets for the 2010 festival before paying bands, contractors and ancillary staff from the previous year's festival.
One band manager, whose musicians were owed $6000, spent six months “screaming down the phone” at Mr Rigby, and was paid after threatening to email “every contact I had in the industry and telling how he operated”.
The money had to be picked up, in cash, from a Chinese restaurant in Cabramatta, the manager said.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

Is the company now in administration? Why not?

Therefore, has Playground Festivals Pty Ltd broken the law by continuing to trade while insolvent?

What trading have they continued to do?

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 20th Mar, 2012



I heard they were THIS CLOSE to signing Torres from Chelsea.

It's okay, I'll see myself out.

crob

crob said on the 20th Mar, 2012

there also being pretty open on there facebook

JackT

JackT said on the 20th Mar, 2012

I think this is a bit of a dumb question:



Of course Playground Weekender is liable for the money. The problem is they don't have any. Any ticket holder would be more than able to join the list of creditors. If you see a couple of cents out of every dollar at the end of the thing being wound up, you're probably doing well. In reality, for what is a few hundred dollars, it isn't worth the time or the effort.

Braveheart schooling me on the dumb question, haha

dankobiaka

dankobiaka said on the 20th Mar, 2012



Good question. Possibly none.

Considering they held replacement events in Sydney on the weekend of the festival, if they incurred any debts in that process then one could argue they were trading while insolvent.

Bandolier

Bandolier said on the 20th Mar, 2012

might not be an accurate solution but do some credit card providers offer refunds for these sort of things? provided, of course, you paid with a credit card.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

I doubt it. You use your credit card at your own risk as far as I know.

The time when you are protected is if you are charged without your knowledge/approval.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 20th Mar, 2012

You may still be able to query the charge, since you've paid for a service you then didn't receive.

But best case, "funny money" was subtracted from your credit card and placed into, presumably, some kind of active bank account owned by PGW. Evem if your bank takes your request seriously, the best thing they could do would be to attempt to reverse that transaction, and in order to do that, there would need to still be money sitting in the PGW account for them to reverse - not much chance of that happening.

If only there was an accountant here who could be more specific...

mondo22

mondo22 said on the 20th Mar, 2012

In the Herald:
In 2009, the Herald reported that Mr Rigby had advertised and sold tickets for the 2010 festival before paying bands, contractors and ancillary staff from the previous year's festival.
One band manager, whose musicians were owed $6000, spent six months “screaming down the phone” at Mr Rigby, and was paid after threatening to email “every contact I had in the industry and telling how he operated”.
The money had to be picked up, in cash, from a Chinese restaurant in Cabramatta, the manager said.

i know that they said they had to scale back for this years festival, but I always had the feeling that this was the reason why the lineup had less pull power this year

RustyinBondi

RustyinBondi said on the 23rd Mar, 2012



Is this accurate? I haven't run an event so this concept is foreign to me, but I would have thought that paying the artists would come out of the ticket money before the event. Or is it common practice for loans to be taken out with the ticket money as security in an escrow account?

And by "most major ticketing companies" is JackT saying by using a Ticketek or Ticketmaster, they would have held 100% of the punters cash until after the performance?

grattan

grattan said on the 5th Apr, 2012

Update from Playground Weekender on Facebook (28/3/12): Very unfortunately at this stage is a case of trying the Paypal route and if this is not successful then its the credit card option. We are looking at other alternatives but as mentioned before this is a lengthy process and we're not sure it will have the desired results.

mondo22

mondo22 said on the 6th Apr, 2012

Wasnt holding out for a refund, but just in case anyone had any hope that Paypal might offer some sort of refund, I received this email which will most likely apply to almost everyone else in the same situation.

Unfortunately, we are denying your claim because your purchase was for a
virtual, digital, or intangible item, which is not covered under PayPal
Buyer Protection. We only cover claims involving physical items that can be
shipped and tracked.

We encourage you to work directly with your seller to resolve the problem.
You'll find their contact information on the Transaction Details page.


Kind regards,
Russell
PayPal

Dexter Ramone

Dexter Ramone said on the 7th Apr, 2012

Were they E-tickets or were you being sent hard tickets Mondo?

mondo22

mondo22 said on the 9th Apr, 2012

A hard ticket.
I see what you're getting at. They could have meant that an eticket is intangible or the event itself. I could investigate further but I cant see myself getting a desired outcome in the end anyway.

http://www.visualphotos.com/photo/1x6603001/getting_blood_out_of_a_stone_a5ntef.jpg