The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ordered Bluesfest to refund over $90,000 in stallholder fees over its cancellation in March last year.
Bluesfest had previously maintained that it had “no liability or obligation to refund their deposit or stall fees” due to a “force majeure” or unforeseen event, which was stated in an enforcing contract signed by all stallholders. While direct refunds were initially not provided, stallholders were permitted to roll their paid fees over to the festival’s rescheduled date this year.
However, as reported by Echo Net Daily, the NCAT deemed the “force majeure” contract term to be unfair towards stallholders. Under the Fair Trading Act, Australian Consumer Law and the Frustrated Contracts Act, Bluesfest was subsequently ordered to repay all stallholders’ fees of $90,250.45.
Mark Swivel of Barefoot Law, who represented the stallholders, told Echo Net Daily that Bluesfest was “ordered to pay all stallholders a full refund”.
“NCAT said the contract was unfair, the stallholders got nothing for the fee they paid, so Bluesfest had no right to keep their money”, he said.
Festival organisers currently have under a month to lodge an appeal.
Bluesfest 2021 is currently set for April 1 to 5 on the Easter long weekend. It will feature a completely all-Australian lineup, with acts including Jimmy Barnes, Tash Sultana, Ocean Alley, The Teskey Brothers and more.