Stall­hold­ers call for re­fund

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

GREY Lynn Park Fes­ti­val stall­hold­ers will be left out of pocket af­ter or­gan­is­ers re­vealed they will not be reschedul­ing the fes­ti­val and no re­funds will be made.

The event of­fers live mu­sic with food, cloth­ing and jew­ellery stalls and has at­tracted about 100,000 peo­ple in the past.

Or­gan­is­ers called off the Novem­ber 15 fes­ti­val be­cause of a bad weather fore­cast and say it will be too com­pli­cated to set up twice.

The event has only been can­celled once be­fore in its 29-year his­tory when a cy­clone was pre­dicted to hit Auck­land in 2005.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Kate Burke re­fused to speak to the Auck­land City Har­bour News but in an in­ter­view with bFM she de­fends the fes­ti­val trust board’s de­ci­sion not to pro­vide stall­hold­ers with a re­fund.

Con­di­tions on the event’s web­site state there is no rain date if the event is can­celled and there are no re­funds on stalls once booked.

She has no idea at this point how much money will be made from the can­celled event.

‘‘We haven’t put our stall fee up in 20 years and that is be­cause we know it’s a gam- ble, out­door events are a gam­ble.’’

Ms Burke says she feels for the stall­hold­ers who were un­able to trade on the day.

‘‘I know that for some peo­ple this is money that they were bank­ing on for their Christ­mas but we are not mak­ing money into our own pock­ets.’’

Gary Fran­cis is a reg­u­lar at the event with his $5 Deli and says it is the food stall­hold­ers who have been hit the hard­est due to their per­ish­able stock.

‘‘This isn’t the first and won’t be the last fes­ti­val or mar­ket to be can­celled due to weather.

‘‘But it would be good as a ges­ture of good­will to pro- vide some kind of re­fund.’’

The chef would like to see stall­hold­ers re­im­bursed with 50 per cent of their fee or re­ceive a 50 per cent dis­count to set up at next year’s fes­ti­val.

Sug­ges­tions made on so­cial me­dia sites that the can­cel­la­tion is a fraud­u­lent at­tempt at mak­ing money are hurt­ful, Ms Burke says.

Stall­hold­ers are charged up­wards of $100 plus GST to set up at the event. Some are call­ing for the or­gan­is­ers to re­fund their fee fol­low­ing the late can­cel­la­tion.

Vicki Stoner wrote on the fes­ti­val’s Face­book page that rain is no rea­son to can­cel a fes­ti­val.

‘‘I have been work­ing so hard to­wards this. I ex­pect a full re­fund if you can­cel this far out, on the day is dif­fer­ent if it re­ally is atro­cious weather.’’

Tim Phua has run a stall at the event with his fa­ther for more than 12 years and wrote that he sup­ports the or­gan­iser’s de­ci­sion to can­cel the event.

‘‘I would have to say this is a very good call. I re­mem­ber in 2006 it wasn’t can­celled and it poured down that day, my Dad lost more be­cause it went ahead.’’

Ms Burke says sea­soned stall­hold­ers know the ter­ri­tory. ‘‘They know that weather plays a part in that and there’s not a lot peo­ple can do about that.’’

Photo: JOHN COWPLAND/ALPHAPIX

An­nual event: Crowds of peo­ple en­joy the Grey Lynn Park Fes­ti­val on a much sun­nier day.

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