While it was touted a wizard-themed wonderland, attendees and prospective attendees feel scammed by a 'Harry Potter-inspired' beer festival in Canada.
Organized by the LOL Event Group, the festival promised guests a litany of magical delights. From “specialty themed alcoholic Butterscotch Beer" to real life characters, live music from DJ Dobs to a cornhole snitch toss, the event sounded like it was modelled after the world of Hogwarts. However, most of the attendees were sorely disappointed.
Shortly after the Montreal event took place, a number of festival-goers took to social media to express their frustrations. The event took place at The Rialto Theatre, where attendees claim that they were met with a crowded coatcheck, and then guided into a dining hall with cheap decorations.
Christina S., who wrote a Yelp review about the Montreal experience, shared an image of what the event description read when she purchased a ticket versus what she says they changed it to, "the day after the event."
The event listing takes out any mention of specific drinks and foods, as well as the magical wand-selection process. In addition, DJ Dobs and the band are removed from the description.
Christina S. also wrote in her review that, "The event was god awful. Hundreds have requested refunds (we are still waiting to see them). None of what was advertised was there."
She adds that the event opened late and, "hundreds of people had to stand out in -10C waiting to get in for an hour." Further, she writes that they only served "mainstream cocktails" and that the decor was "all cheap dollar store stuff."
"The food that was provided was just cold grocery store fare and not nearly enough for 600 people. Nothing "wizard inspired" about it," she wrote.
Another Yelp poster, Emma A., wrote that, "They [the organizers] said that the problem was that our expectations were to high... (But they actually created those expectations by promising many things that weren't there)."
Angry attendees also created a Facebook group called, Cheated by LOL Event Group, where a number of people have expressed their dissapointment.
Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Lee Hennig, who purchased tickets for the second Vancouver event, about her experience with LOL Event Group.
Hennig purchased tickets for herself, a friend, and her sister to the second event because the first event was sold out. When the second event was cancelled, she states that LOL Event Group sent her an email telling her that it was cancelled due to ‘location issues.'
"They said they issued a refund on Nov. 5, and I have been doing a lot on my end with them, and PayPal because it still has yet to manifest," she explains.
Hennig adds that she hasn't been able to speak to a person from LOL Event Group; any requests for a conversation have been ignored.
"And any time that I’ve inquired, I’ve received another “your refund has been issued” default email," she describes. "They sent an email late last week saying that multiple people have had issues getting a refund and that it’s Eventbrite’s fault."
Hennig notes that a refund did show up in her PayPal account roughly a week ago. However, she says it was then cancelled by LOL Event Group after five days with a 'pending' status, according to PayPal's records.
"While it’s unfortunate to be out the money, what really bothers me and I’m sure others, is that Harry Potter fans in general are a good group of people doing something wholesome together. And it’s frustrating that someone would take it advantage of that."
PayPal informed Hennig that it would refund her if LOL Event Group does not do so in the next 10 days. According to her, the organizers owe her $174 CAD, and there are eight days left until PayPal will pay her in lieu of the organizers.
LOL Event Group has since deleted its Facebook page.
V.I.A. reached out to LOL Event Group for comment and has not received a response.
**NOTE: This event is not associated with the 'magical wizard's cauldron bar' coming to Vancouver next year.