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Refunds for New Zealand festival over vaccine pass rules

Organisers of a New Zealand festival have had to refund around 500 early-bird ticket holders who are unwilling to show a Covid-19 vaccine pass in order to gain entry to the event.

Early-bird tickets had gone on sale in August for Womad Festival in New Plymouth, prior to details of New Zealand’s traffic light system and vaccine pass being introduced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Proof of vaccination against coronavirus is needed in the country in order to attend large scale events and was introduced in mid-November.

Rebecca Johnson is the marketing and communications manager for Womad and told RNZ: “We all agree that it’s been incredibly tough with the vaccine mandate being rolled out and we certainly feel for a lot of our festival goers who unfortunately will not be able to be at Womad for the first time in manage years because they have chosen not to be vaccinated.”

Johnson also noted that the organisers did not hesitate to offer refunds to those who could no longer attend the festival due to the new vaccine pass rules, but said that it was not a huge number.

“Out of the percentage of festival goers that had already pre-purchased tickets with us we have refunded about 4% of our festival ticket purchases at that time.”

It is still a negative for festival organisers however, as they revealed ticket sales are still not near “where we’d like it to be yet”.

Johnson added: “We’d like it to be a lot stronger. We were anticipating a sell-out festival and we are definitely not at that point yet, but we are starting to see more people buy tickets and get confidence back that festivals and events are going to go ahead.”

Image: Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash