Customers of shifted cannabis festival 'entitled to refund'

Harvest Festival organiser Joe Nicolson, aka Growseph Green, has revealed the festival is moving south to Gore. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Harvest Festival organiser Joe Nicolson, aka Growseph Green, has revealed the festival is moving south to Gore. Photo: Gregor Richardson
A cannabis festival cannot leave customers high and dry and must provide refunds to those who are unwilling or unable to travel to its new venue in Southland, a consumer advocacy group says.

Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson, of Wellington, said event promoters were obliged under the Consumer Guarantees Act to carry out their services with reasonable care and skill.

"If they advertise an event at a particular location, and then change the venue to a site that's a significant distance away, they can't leave customers unable to attend out of pocket.

"If you bought a ticket to the Dunedin event, and aren't able or don't want to travel to [Southland] to attend, you're entitled to a refund."

Council community services general manager Simon Pickford (right) and a police officer issue a...
Council community services general manager Simon Pickford (right) and a police officer issue a trespass notice to the organisers of a cannabis festival at Woodside Glen this afternoon. Photo: Gregor Richardson

The troubled NZ Harvest Festival event had a last minute venue change from Dunedin to a paddock in Waimea, west of Gore, this morning, sparking angry reactions from some suppliers and patrons.

But in a video posted to social media this morning from the Harvest Festival's new site in a misty paddock north-west of Gore, organiser Joe Nicolson was relatively upbeat.

"We've had a really rough road getting here guys but we're not giving up.''

Mr Nicolson, also known as Growseph Green, said buses would run from the Whakamana Cannabis Museum in Princes St to the new site at 11 O'Shea Rd, near State Highway 94 between Riversdale and Balfour, leaving at 8am and noon tomorrow.

Refunds would also be offered, he said, but it was unclear whether this would cover the travel costs of people who had journeyed from as far afield as Northland for the festival.

Reactions online were divided this morning, ranging from supportive to angry.

On Instagram, the owner of a Auckland clothing and vaporiser store Illicit Custom made his thoughts clear to one of the organisers.

"You are a f***** fool bro. I printed like 3 k [of] merch[andise] for you. F*** I gonna do w[ith] that? You better f***** hope we don't get to Gore.''

However, a number of other comments on Facebook voiced continued support for the cannabis celebration festival.

Council and police officers yesterday closed down a planned cannabis festival near Outram, on the outskirts of Dunedin, but organisers vowed at the time the show will go on at a different site.

Dunedin City Council community services general manager Simon Pickford turned up with police about 1.30pm and issued trespass notices to organisers and some of the few attendees who had turned up early to the festival at Woodside Glen.
The Harvest Festival was set to start on Saturday on council reserve land, to coincide with 4/20 (April 20), a worldwide day of cannabis celebration.

But it ran into trouble before it began  when council chief executive Sue Bidrose sent a letter to organiser Joe Nicolson, asking him not to proceed with the event.

Dr Bidrose said the council was not prepared to allow him to use council-owned land to host the event without a permit.

Mr Nicolson said the cannabis and hemp festival was a more professional alternative to the J Day cannabis smoking protest in the Octagon in previous years.

It is billed online as a celebration of all things cannabis, headlined by Tiki Taane, and featuring hemp and cannabis businesses, music, food, workshops and panel discussions.



Why not leave the pot heads alone my god worse crimes are committed every day I do not like drugheads but if there are away in a paddock not annoying anyone what is the problem money in the councils pocket oh hang on they don't need it . I wonder if Elton John or Adam Lambert have a quick puff before there concerts on council grounds i can just see the cops and there big guns going in to trespass them lol

Surly it would be up to the police and the DCC to make all refunds since they are the ones that caused the venue change at the last minute both of them knew of this happening well before yesterday or is that when the ODT photographer was avail to make this a drama for the 2 main queens in the photo meaning Mr Pickford and mr A Police officer