The Music Festival Bubble: How to Claim If You Don’t Keep Your Promise

A virtual recreation of a music festival

A virtual recreation of the music festival in Andalusia. //

Monica Zass Marcos /
| 07/31/2022 – 4:00 pm.

Problems with music festivals? What should you do in case of cheating or last minute cancellation? In this article, we explain some puffs Some fans of this type of events experienced and how to solve them. This is a summary of a much broader report at that we recommend to read carefully in order to defend your rights as a consumer.

The desire to organize was imposed and the festival bubble eventually ended up bursting. This summer, more than a thousand music events have been organized throughout Spain, a number as a result of the two-year pause in the epidemic and the need to revitalize live music. Before starting, intuition said there is no audience for everyone. There are no workers. But some wrongdoing has been added to this miscalculation by the regulating companies which, ultimately, have an effect on the same thing: the consumer’s pocket.

To the cases of cancellations for not reaching the minimum number of tickets sold are added those caused by a lack of foresight and unfortunate management. This also affects posters, dates, and locations that have undergone last-minute changes. Finally, the circumstances of many festivals have sent alarm bells to consumer platforms due to their “offensive” nature.

“This summer is amazing because of a statistical issue: the more festivals there are, the more likely there are problems,” explains Myriam Vivar, an attorney and spokesperson for OCU (Organization of Consumers and Users). “It’s a mathematical question, but it can’t be an excuse to apply the offending clauses,” qualifies the expert. Ruben Sanchez, Facua’s general secretary, agrees that “there are a representative number of irregularities going on” which keeps them very busy off their platform. Festivals swing into scandals every week, some by mistake and some by legal fraud.

O Son do Camiño, held in Santiago de Compostela, sounded the alarm as the main platform collapsed on June 12, injuring several workers. Paco Lopez, president of the Association of Artistic Actors of the Show (ARTE), warned of the main shortcomings that could affect an event-saturated map, “There is a shortage of iron, equipment and professionals.” Although Festival and Xunta blamed the winds, the truth is that professionals migrated through the profession with the pandemic and many have not returned despite great demand.

The label, date and location change at the last minute

The Madrid Puro Reggaeton is a typical case because, prior to the cancellation, it had already been subjected to numerous infractions. He had a plenary session to change the date (initially it was scheduled for June), the poster (they made the artists disappear without properly announcing it or providing explanations) and the location (three days before the start, he moved from Caja Magica to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium) . But he wasn’t the only one.

Miryam Vivar warns that “changes to the label that have not been notified can be claimed not only for the ticket price, but also for the additional damage they have caused.” It differs “Now, it is necessary to assess whether the change of location is justified or is an essential feature of the contract.” This is not the case for the Andalucía Big Festival organized by Mad Cool, the coastal version of the total Madrid festival. One of her main claims was that it would take place next September at the beach, but that changed last week.

Although they justified it as such, the change is not so much about the convenience of attending but the difficulties of getting permits to celebrate an event with these properties on the beach. Mad Cool expects at least 30,000 attendees per day to a land marine public space, which requires, first of all, an occupation permit from the Regional Delegate for the Environment.

Facua understands that because it’s a “material change,” consumers should be able to get a refund for the price they paid, but from OCU they aren’t clear. “The judge may appreciate it for you and you can get your money back, but this is such a new issue that there are no regulations, let alone jurisprudence,” laments Vivar.
Consumer advocacy platforms have been working for years on a single regulation that regulates the entire festival market because, as an OCU spokesperson warns, “organizations are taking advantage of this sea of ​​regulation to make their head a jacket.” Which leads them to denounce the recent violation, which in some cases amounts to the classification of illegality.

Random charges and arbitrary items

The new consumer backbone of the summer festival is cashless bracelets. This piece of cloth with a slide, which is used for moving inside the can, drinking and eating, is often accompanied by offensive clauses that could break the law. Such is the case of Mad Cool, held in the capital from July 6-11, which was denounced by Facua and OCU for forcing management to return the money for their bracelets. They persecuted Primavera Sound and BBK Live for the same reason.

“Arbitrary payment commissions, as well as the use of a single payment method (in this case, bracelets) are prohibited by consumer protection law. There is no choice but to transfer them to the administration,” says Miriam Vivar, who predicts that they will condemn the Valencian Festival in Monegros, which begins on July 30 , for the same reason. The spokeswoman sums up: “Moving forward is a bit complicated because they have already bought tickets. They force you not to go or go into abusive circumstances.” The same thing happens with the prohibition of placing food and drink inside the festival, not even water.

Restricting food intake is illegal

“Restrictions on the entry of food and drink are illegal,” says Ruben Sanchez. “Catering establishments can do that, because it’s their main business, but the concert can’t.” “We always report but the administrations don’t act with hard fines, so the sector keeps doing it. And even if there are penalties, the amount may be too small to be worth continuing to commit fraud because they make money,” he laments. That is why these matters are often resolved in court.

Miriam Vivar agrees with Sanchez that regulated firms play a draining role, which is why she encourages them to go to OCU or Facua, who have legal advisors and direct channels and can act as intermediaries between the regulator and the consumer. More than not losing hope, the attorney believes the key is persistence.

Remember that it is a free procedure that consists of “writing a page of what happened to you, why it is offensive and what you are asking for back”. “We must always demand, no matter how small they owe us and no matter how much trouble they cause us. If it is not the movement of all affected, they manage to make it something that is left and a minority and that things do not change.”

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