Fans call for refunds after bungled Auckland K-pop festival K-Wave

Some K-pop fans have been left out of pocket and disappointed after the K-Wave festival at Auckland's Trusts Arena last weekend.

Abbhindra Ananth, a long-time K-pop fan, bought premium tickets for the event and said the experience was "chaotic".

"When we got to the event, there were no seating arrangements whatsoever. We paid quite a lot to be near the front so it was quite a surprise when we were pushed all the way back," he said.

"It was first come, first served."

In an email sent the night before the show, organisers told premium and VIP ticket holders their allocated seating areas were now unreserved.

On the day of the event, a shortage of staff and no signage meant these areas in the venue became a free-for-all.

Newshub spoke to one fan, Shay McEwan, who suffers from chronic pain and was relying on her seated tickets.

"I had purchased premium allocated seating so I would be able to sit down and enjoy the concert. However, I ended up sitting on the floor in general admission. I was not happy," she said.

The owner of a merch shop, Kiwi Pop by GG, didn't attend K-Wave, but has taken it upon herself to advocate for those affected.

Georgette Jackson said the treatment of fans at the event was disrespectful.

"There was only one line and everyone was forced into this three- or four-hour wait with no shade. There was no water and no portaloos."

After Newshub made contact with the promoters, Prime Entertainment, an apology email was sent to ticket holders later that night.

But Ananth believes it doesn't go far enough.

"Knowing in my mind that I sat next to someone who paid $80 when I paid $150, that hurts. Especially as a student, that's a lot of money I'm losing out on," he told Newshub.

The organiser of the event, Gio Jin, wouldn't appear on camera for an interview but instead sent Newshub a statement blaming "unforeseen production setbacks" for the issues.

When asked for clarification on whether certain ticket holders would receive full or partial refunds, he didn't respond.

Consumer NZ's Gemma Rasmussen said the ticket seller, that is whoever issued the terms and conditions, is responsible if a consumer doesn’t get what they pay for.

Jackson's willing to dig into her own pockets if refunds aren't provided.

"I would reach out to those people and send them a voucher they could redeem on my shop for free, just to spread some Christmas cheer. We're about to go into the Christmas season, I can't believe this has happened!"

But some K-pop fans will still be hoping for a Christmas refund miracle.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story included a quote from Consumer New Zealand saying the ticket provider could hold liability for refunds and named the ticketing agent Flicket. It's since been clarified that Flicket was not the technical 'ticket seller' as the promoter, Prime Entertainment, issued the terms and conditions directly.