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Cancelled Swiss fest announces compensation scheme

In lieu of refunds, Stars of Sounds and Openair Fluo have agreed to open their doors to Vibiscum Festival ticketholders

By James Hanley on 10 Jun 2024

Promoters of a cancelled Swiss festival are offering ticketholders admission to two other events as compensation after saying they were “unable to provide refunds” as a result of financial difficulties.

Vibiscum Festival’s third edition had been due to take place in Vevey, Switzerland, from 30 May to 2 June, starring acts such as Hardwell, Lost Frequencies, Hamza, Shaka Ponk, Zola and Crawlers. Ticket prices started at CHF95 (€99).

However, festival director William von Stockalper axed the event last month due to poor ticket sales, with no refunds offered. Amid criticism, he indicated there would be reimbursement “in one form or another”, with organisers insisting they were “fully committed to finding a fair solution for all affected festivalgoers”.

An alternative compensation scheme has now been announced after Murten’s Stars of Sounds Festival and Neuchâtel’s Openair Fluo agreed to open their doors to all Vibiscum ticket holders.

Fans who purchased a ticket for Vibiscum’s rap night on 30 May will be able to exchange it to gain entry to Openair Fluo, which will feature artists such as Franglish, Gambi and Niro, on 31 August.

In addition, people who have bought tickets for Vibsicum’s days dedicated to rock (31 May), electro (1 June) or classical (2 June) have the chance to attend an evening of their choice at Stars of Sounds, which runs from 4-6 July. Acts set to perform at the event include Gotthard, Scorpions, Paul Kalkbrenner, Calum Scott, Ray Dalton and Take That.

“Unfortunately, no other compensation can be considered”

Tickets to Openair Fluo and Stars of Sounds cost CHF93.22 and CHF109, respectively.

“Unfortunately, no other compensation can be considered,” says a statement from the Vibiscum team. “We would like to warmly thank the Stars of Sounds Festival in Murten and Openair Fluo in Neuchâtel for their support and solidarity, and hope that you will be able to enjoy their great programming.”

Reaction to the proposal has been largely negative on social media, with one fan branding it “shameful”, adding: “We don’t want ‘compensation’, we want a refund.”

Launched in 2022, Vibiscum was sponsored by Vevey-headquartered food and drink conglomerate Nestlé and drew 32,000 people across three days last year, headlined by Orelsan and DJ Snake. But Von Stockalper told Blue News that he pulled the plug on the 2024 edition after it reached “only half” of his 18,000 ticket sales target two weeks before it was scheduled to start.

“To be frank, we had been thinking about it for a week but we were still hoping for a significant jump in sales,” he said. “For a festival like ours, the current trend is to sell at the last minute, but given the sales, it would have been too risky to bet everything on that. It was a terrible choice, the most difficult decision of my professional career.”

Elaborating on the reasons for the cancellation, a statement on the festival’s website read: “The lack of ticket sales has made it impossible for us to cover the costs of artists and other vendors essential to making the festival happen. Despite all our efforts to promote the event, we have not achieved the objectives necessary to ensure its financial viability.”


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