Ticket-holders outraged after Kultureland Festival abruptly changes venues, artists cancel

·3 min read
The Kultureland Festival abruptly switched venues to the Ajax Downs Racetrack and postponed the start time on Sunday, leaving ticket-holders confused and frustrated. (CBC - image credit)
The Kultureland Festival abruptly switched venues to the Ajax Downs Racetrack and postponed the start time on Sunday, leaving ticket-holders confused and frustrated. (CBC - image credit)

Some ticketholders say they're outraged after a music festival abruptly changed venues, providing short notice to visitors travelled from far and wide to attend the concert.

The Kultureland Festival was scheduled to take place at Markham Fairgrounds Sunday, but it quickly changed venues to the Ajax Downs Racetrack right as doors were about to open in Markham at 4 p.m.

The festival celebrates Afro-fusion and R&B music. Its first day was yesterday in Markham, but on Sunday, ticket-holders were abruptly asked to drive over to Ajax after a last-minute announcement.

That created logistical problems for ticket-holders, who complained about a range of problems plaguing the festival this year.

Kultureland organizers said in a tweet Sunday afternoon that some artists were unable to perform. The announcement was made less than an hour before showtime, with several artists on the lineup dropping out without advance notice, including headliner Jhene Aiko.

CBC Toronto attempted to contact the organizers via social media and received no response. CBC Toronto also asked to speak to organizers at the event in Ajax and were told they would not conduct an interview or make a comment.

"It's really unfortunate for people who came all this way from far locations," said Nangoh Sarrah Traore. "They didn't update us until the last minute."

Traore was one of several ticket-holders who reached the Markham Fair Grounds to find them empty, with security guards informing those arriving that the festival had moved to Ajax and would start two hours later.

"We spent a lot of money for the event, so we're going to go," Traore added.

Over at the Ajax Downs, a cluttered parking lot with ticket-holders in queue was the scene as festival tents were raised in haste to get the show started.

But that did little to cheer up ticket-holders, who had also learned that some performers had cancelled.

"We planned the whole weekend according to the festival," Sarina Perera said. "I'm disappointed, it's been a long day, and a lot of money."

Perera said Sunday's festival was supposed to begin at noon but was postponed until 4 p.m., before it was relocated to Ajax and postponed again to 6 p.m.

"We paid for a full day, but now it's just 6 to 11," Perera said. "It's very unorganized."

CBC
CBC

Some ticket-holders questioned whether or not they'll bother with the festival next year after paying so much money.

Beheshta Morad, who finally reached Ajax with her friends to attend the festival, said they spent $374 in total. She added that on the festival's first day on Saturday, there were delays and cancellations too.

Those who paid for VIP tickets, like Morad, were mixed into general admissions, effectively rendering their ticket upgrade pointless.

"I feel scammed, they promised all these people would come, and they're telling us on short notice they're not coming," she said.

There were no refunds for tickets either.

"All ticket sales are final. No refunds or ticket transfers," the festival's website states.