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Many ticketholders couldn't access the main stage of the Mardi Gras after-party – and now Fair Trading is investigating

Sharon Masige
  • New South Wales Fair Trading will investigate whether the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras broke consumer law, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
  • It comes after 10,000 tickets were sold for the Mardi Gras after-party but only 5,500 people could get in to see the main acts.
  • The Mardi Gras organisers apologised after the event.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

New South Wales Fair Trading will investigate whether the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party breached Australian consumer law by misleading people who bought tickets to the afterparty, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The afterparty took place at the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park on Saturday from 10pm, with headliners Sam Smith, Kesha and Dua Lipa.

According to the SMH, 10,000 people bought tickets for the event, which included access to Hordern Pavilion where the headliners were to perform, and secondary stages where smaller acts took the stage.

The problem was that the Hordern Pavilion only had a capacity of 5,500 people. On the night, there were long wait times for people trying to get into the the venue before it reached capacity. The event organisers, even set up screens so that partygoers could see what was happening.

Attendees took to social media to express their frustration at having to wait in line and even miss out on the acts they wanted to see.

The organisers apologised after the event.

"We are deeply disappointed and apologise that this has occurred," the Mardi Gras organisers said in a statement on their website.

"It’s no secret that this year we lost the Royal Hall of Industries as a venue for the annual Mardi Gras Party. We recognise significant changes are required for the smaller party footprint to be successful.

"After exploring a range of other options across the city, it was determined the Hordern Pavilion and surrounding areas were still the best venue for The Party. There just isn’t another inner city space that is big enough for our audience that would allow an all-night dance party."

A Mardi Gras spokeswoman told the SMH that two weeks before the event, the afterparty website added a disclaimer that "venues may reach capacity at different times". And if that happened, "entry would be restricted for crowd safety reasons".

Those who purchased tickets also got an email two days before the event with that added information.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that they're investigating the issue.

"At the moment it's a bit hard to say categorically they've broken the law," she said.

Webb added that the case would rely on whether someone could have known that having a ticket didn't necessarily mean you'd get to see the headliners.

A NSW Fair Trading spokesperson told Business Insider Australia via email the organisation is working with Ticketek and the event organisers over the issue.

"Fair Trading’s advice to customers who were dissatisfied with the event is to contact Ticketek to try and resolve the matter in the first instance," the spokesperson said, adding that those who aren't able to resolve their issue with Ticketek can lodge a complaint to Fair Trading.

Ticketholders might also be able to get their money if they paid by credit or debit card.

"Customers unable to achieve a resolution who have paid by credit or debit card can also contact their credit provider and make enquiries about applying for a credit card chargeback," the spokesperson said. However, a time limit for chargebacks may apply.