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Running music festivals and concerts

If you are organising a music festival, you need to be careful about:

  • event cancellations
  • advertised acts failing to perform
  • the lack of advertised goods and services at festivals.

If you are organising a festival, you must be aware of your legal responsibilities—particularly under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

False and misleading representations

It is an offence to make false or misleading representations.

False or misleading representations about an event can include:

  • the artists performing
  • services available.

You must have reasonable grounds for making any claim about the event.

Payment

You must not accept payment for a festival if you:

  • do not intend to put on the event
  • intend to put on a different event to the event advertised
  • know, or should have known, that you would not be able to put on the event.

If you accept payment in the above circumstances you may be committing an offence.

If you accept ticket payments for an event which is then cancelled you may be committing an offence. Even if you intended the event would go ahead as planned.

However, it is not the law’s intention to affect businesses that genuinely try to meet supply agreements.

Event changes or cancellations

You must give a full refund if an event is cancelled.

If you cancel an advertised act, or do not provide an advertised service, the customer may be entitled to a full or part refund. You can not add a term or condition to limit your liability for refunds. This may be considered an unfair contract term.

We recommend you communicate any changes to a festival:

  • as soon as possible
  • as widely as possible.

Industry guidance

Live Performance Australia gives guidance to your industry.

There is a ‘Ticketing Code of Practice’. This includes advice which may help you avoid common problems.

Fines

The maximum fines for false and misleading representations or wrongly accepting payment are:

  • $220,000 for an individual
  • $1.1 million for a company.