Music fans are still nearly £60,000 out of pocket over an Angus rock festival which fell victim to Covid-19.
And organisers of the internationally-renowned Kirriemuir Bonfest say the refund delay is getting in the way of them laying plans for a return in 2022.
The issue is being blamed on the external ticketing agency that has handled the arrangements for the gathering for some time.
The Bonfest team say their pleas to help fans get their money back are also landing on deaf ears.
The event was started by local charity DD8 Music more than 15 years ago in honour of the band’s Angus-born former frontman Bon Scott.
It has grown to become a three-day celebration, attracting rockers from across the globe to the Angus town where a statue of the baker’s son was erected after a successful £50,000 crowdfunding campaign.
Traditionally staged on the first weekend in May, the 2020 Bonfest was set to welcome visitors from 30 countries to Kirrie.
The plug was pulled when the pandemic struck, but DD8 still managed to put together a six-hour virtual Bonfest.
Its highlight was a video message from Brian Johnson, who became ACDC’s lead singer following Scott’s death at the age of 33 after a night of heavy drinking in London in 1980.
DD8 has already cancelled the 2021 Bonfest – although another online festival might be staged – but the team have revealed fans have still to receive £57,000 worth of refunds for last year’s event from ticketing agency Brown Paper Tickets.
The Angus group has been battling for refunds on fans’ behalf and fear the debacle is damaging the charity’s reputation.
DD8 chairman Graham Galloway said: “It’s probably getting close to 18 months since people started purchasing their tickets for the 2020 Bonfest and a year since we instructed the ticketing agency to issue refunds.
“But there are still £57,000 of refunds that haven’t happened.”
“It is now the major issue preventing us from progressing with any plans for 2022,” he said.
“It just wouldn’t feel right to put tickets on sale for next year when so many people are still waiting on a refund for 2020.”
He added: “They have been incredibly slow and it is reflecting very badly on DD8 and Bonfest.
“We don’t hold the money – we have no control over the money at all.
“But these were tickets bought for our event and it is the reputation of Bonfest which is being damaged by this.
“We have reached out to the ticket company on multiple occasions but they have just not come back to us.”
He said the Bonfest crew had worked with Brown Paper Tickets for some time and it was disappointing that fans had been so badly let down.
“It’s obviously been an incredibly difficult year for everyone but we really feel that this is a situation which should have been sorted out,” he added.
Brown Paper Tickets has not responded to a request for a reason for the refunds delay.
Museum plan progressing
Meanwhile, DD8 is hopeful of more positive progress on its latest project – the creation of a rock museum for Kirriemuir.
The charity secured the former Currie Accountants office in the town’s Bank Street and a planning application was lodged with Angus Council last month.
It will feature exhibition rooms, a classroom area for outreach activities and gift shop.
DD8 plan to celebrate all forms of music, but the dedicated site would allow for an expanded exhibition around the ACDC connection.
Kirriemuir’s Gateway to the Glens museum has a small permanent display marking the Bon Scott link, and special events around the Bonfest weekend have been a big hit with fans, boosting museum visitor figures significantly.
The group is hopeful of securing Heritage Lottery funding for the project.
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe