Stallholder anger over cancelled Grey Lynn festival

By Paul Harper

People usually swarm to the Grey Lynn Festival. Photo / Sarah Ivey
People usually swarm to the Grey Lynn Festival. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The organisers of Auckland's popular Grey Lynn Park Festival have defended their decision not to reimburse stallholders after the event was cancelled due to a bad weather forecast.

Organisers of the festival broke the news tomorrow's event would not go ahead last night on its website and posted a message explaining the decision on its Facebook page.

"The Grey Lynn Park Festival Trust Board have made the really tough decision to cancel this weekend's festival. The weather heading to Auckland is going to be relentless and Saturday is going to be miserable, not what anyone wants for a festive occasion. Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and we will see you all next year."

The festival, which has been running since 1989, was to include several New Zealand performers, including Herbs.

Several stallholders have called for organisers to refund them following the decision to cancel.

"I have been working so hard towards this. I expect a full refund if you cancel this far out, on the day is different if it really is atrocious weather. Rain is no reason to cancel a festival," Vicki Stoner wrote on the event's Facebook page.

Helen Burton Coyte agreed.

"So you make a call like that 2 days before the event and all the stallholders who have been working their butts off for weeks/months get nothing? I think the least you can do is give a us all a refund! Fair enough if it was cancelled on the day, but 2 days before is a bit premature!"

Sera Mitchinson said the organisers should consider a rain date.

"This is such a big day for so many stallholders, and it has been such a tough year for small businesses, very unfair to pull it two days before!! The weather forecast has been terrible and turned out wrong so many times, this seems really presumtuous [sic]."

Stallholders are charged $100 plus GST to set up at the event.

However the stallholder conditions on the event's website states there is no rain date if the event is cancelled, and there are no refunds on stalls once booked.

Chairperson of the trust board, Kate Burke, said there would not be refunds. She said compared to other festivals, stallholder fees were "very cheap".

"We haven't put our rents up in 20 years. It's a gamble - it's a chance you take when you choose to participate."

Ms Burke said the festival would not have been fun if visitors had top wade through a "mudbath". She said the event had only been cancelled due to rain twice.

"In 2006 it rained like mad - it turned the fields to swamps."

Ms Burke said it was also not feasible to postpone the event.

"We've got musicians, we've got performers, we've got stallholders ... they've got a circuit of commitment. To make it another date - I don't see how that could happen.

"It's just a huge event with a lot of layers to it ... it's just too complicated to have to set it up twice."

The event was to have around 500 participants - which includes stallholders, rides, bands and performers.

"It's a huge disappointment for many people - including ourselves."

- NZ Herald

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