State investigates botched music festival, refund denials

Saturday’s music festival fiasco angered thousands of ticket-holders and now the state is taking action.

At least 2,000 ticket-holders anticipating Paradise Music Festival were stunned when organizers moved the Kahuku concert. In a last-minute change, the concert’s lineup was split between three separate club venues.

Shaka Entertainment, the company behind the festival, promised refunds, but ticket-holders said they were denied refunds from Flavorus, the online ticket website.

The state consumer office has now opened an investigation.

When asked if the state has ever handled similar cases, Stephen Levins, executive director for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said “Not to this magnitude. We’ve had cases over the years where shows have been canceled and in most instances, consumers get their money back.”

Longtime concert promoter Tom Moffatt has brought the likes of Janet Jackson and Elvis Presley to Hawaii. He says Shaka Entertainment’s last-minute venue change for Paradise Music Festival was a “flub” Hawaii hasn’t seen before.

Moffatt, who is not affiliated with Shaka Entertainment, says he believes the intentions were good, but it was a costly mistake for the new company.

“You have an entrance to a venue, and you had access to it — so you thought — and come the day of the show, you didn’t,” he said. “It was a sad mistake.”

“Anyone can call themselves a promoter. That’s why its important for people… to the best of their ability, look into who is promoting a concert,” Levins said.

KHON showed Levins an email a ticket-holder received from the website. The email stated the “terms of purchase” clearly state “ticket holder is aware the venue and talent are subject to change.”

Since the event turned into a bar crawl, Flavorus could not issue refunds.

“Just because a vendor or merchant tells you this is the way it is, that doesn’t mean that is the way it is,” said Levins. “That may be they’re saying, but their representation may in fact be unreasonable. If someone purchased a ticket, for instance, with the idea the concert was in town and all of a sudden the concert is going to be on the North Shore — to give you a hypothetical question — we would the position that it’s totally unreasonable and the consumer should not be burdened with that kind of situation, so it depends on the facts.”

KHON2 learned that the incident has also prompted plans for a class-action lawsuit against Shaka Entertainment by hundreds of unhappy ticket holders.

On Shaka Entertainment’s Facebook page, the company apologized for the “turn of events” and said Flavorus, the ticketing website, will issue refunds to anyone who did not attend the event.

We currently are working with Flavorus and all online tickets that weren’t used at the clubs can be refunded through them. Everyone that contacted Flavorus should either already be refunded or receiving a refund shortly. If you didn’t attend and haven’t contacted Flavorus yet make sure to contact them by Thursday night. For everyone with physical tickets, all promoters have been notified and are giving refunds. We truly do apologize to everyone that had to endure this mess, so we have decided to give everyone that pushed through and attended a 50% discount for our next event.

Shaka Entertainment says it is planning another event later this year.

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