Juicy Fest organisers release statement amid online rumours summer festival is a scam

Ja Rule performing at a concert
Ja Rule is just one of the acts playing as part of Juicy Fest. Photo credit: Getty Images

The New Zealand organisers of the planned 2023 Juicy Fest tour have been forced to make a statement amid rampant online rumours the proposed five date tour is a scam.

The new festival, which promises to bring the "best of the '90s and early 2000s to Aotearoa New Zealand", is scheduled to take place in Auckland, Napier, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Whangārei in January.

Among the acts promised are hip-hop and R&B legends Nelly, Ne-Yo and Ja Rule.

But concerns have been raised both online and directly with Newshub over the validity of the festival, whether the advertised acts will actually appear and if the concerts can take place in some of the proposed venues.

Tickets for the event started at $169 for early bird purchasers, with a VIP package costing $299 and a platinum VVIP ticket costing $999. An FAQ on the website said tickets would be emailed out "seven days prior to the event date, to help prevent scalping and fraudulent ticketing".

The website also warns "all ticket sales are final and non-refundable", but if the festival is cancelled promises "we will provide a refund" which would be "only the face value of your ticket".

Newshub understands Napier City Council and Tauranga City Council have received multiple calls from customers who have paid for their tickets and are concerned the festival won't actually be taking place.

There's been speculation Tauranga's festival wouldn't be happening, but a spokesperson for the Council's events management team told Newshub that was not true, confirming that in fact the current Wharepai Domain had sold out.

That site can hold 8000 including event staff, artists and organisers.

A statement from Juicy Fest addressed the concerns about the Wharepai Domain booking, saying it was a case of them possibly considering a bigger venue due to overwhelming demand.

"In regards to Tauranga, Wharepai Domain is the current confirmed venue," reads the statement, which is attributed to Juicy Fest owner and promoter Glenn Meikle.

"Due to this venue selling out we are working towards confirming a bigger venue, which we expect to do very soon. 

"We did prematurely announce a new venue for Tauranga but If this bigger venue falls through, we still have our original venue locked in at Wharepai Domain. Basically, the only difference is whether more people can attend our Tauranga festival or not." 

An event spokesperson working for Juicy Festival told Newshub: "If we can get a bigger venue, we absolutely will," adding a wait list of "a couple of thousand people" were signed up, hoping to get into the event.

Newshub understands the organisers could be looking at Bay Venues, a site in the region which is not managed by Tauranga City Council.

Napier City Council said there had been similar calls with worried punters fearing they'd been scammed. But a Napier City Council spokesperson said they'd been dealing with the organisers "for the past few weeks" and said they were in the "process of signing off venue layout".

The spokesperson also said they were aware of the worries from the public, but had got a good working relationship with the organisers of the event, with meetings on site happening within the past few months.

Among other online rumours was one that claimed artist Lloyd was double-booked. However, organisers of the festival posted a video from Lloyd on their social media channels on Monday, August 22, in which he promoted the dates he'd be coming to New Zealand.

"As of Monday afternoon his personal website does not promote any shows beyond 2022, which means our videos are the only official confirmation he has given regarding his performance schedule between January 5-15," Meikle said.

Hip-hop artist Nelly had also posted about the festival on his official Facebook page on August 18, saying: "Aye New Zealand and Australia, you have any plans at the top of the year? You do NOW! It's official, the Juicy Festival is here."

In a statement released to their website, Juicy Fest organisers acknowledged the rumours and addressed them directly, saying: "We want to assure all of our current and future ticket holders that all artists included on our line-up have confirmed their attendance on all tour dates, with us."

"However, we want you all to know that Juicy Fest 2023 is going ahead - and our Juicy Fest team is an experienced and capable one," the organisers continued.

"Juicy Fest 2023 may be new but those behind it are far from new to the scene - and we can't wait for everyone to enjoy the fruits of our labour next year and beyond."

Newshub has approached Meikle for an interview which we expect will happen in the near future. People interested in the festival who have concerns about it are encouraged to get in contact with Newshub, so we can put your questions to festival organisers.