SGV Tribune

Why Redondo Beach’s BeachLife Festival is taking a wait-and-see approach before announcing new dates

No new date set yet for postponed BeachLife Festival.

Major festivals such as Coachella and Stagecoach have set new dates for postponed shows, but as the chances of major events taking place this year look more and more dim, the South Bay’s largest music festival is taking a wait-and-see approach before announcing new dates.

But some BeachLife Festival ticket holders are starting to get a bit anxious about being able to get a full refund if the festival doesn’t return or if they can’t attend the new dates.

“BeachLife is not canceling. We are looking to reschedule and the reason we are not announcing dates is we want to be responsible citizens and we don’t want to kick the can down the street and then have to reschedule again. We will reschedule as soon as the government gives us some guidance as to when it would be prudent,” said Allen Sanford, co-founder of the festival, which was set to take place May 1-3 at Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon.

The second annual weekend festival is planned to feature sets by The Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, and Ziggy and Stephen Marley, as well as Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, G. Love & Special Sauce, and dozens of other bands.

Like all public events, the festival announced in March that it would have to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But with no new dates announced, first-time festivalgoer Rob Sherwood decided to look into getting a refund for the two general admission tickets he purchased for $105 each plus service fees.

But he wasn’t happy with the response he got via email.

“I was hoping to get a refund. If they go bankrupt from this it could be lost money for me and everybody else … but they didn’t offer me a refund at all,” said the 50-year-old Redondo Beach resident, who forwarded the email he received from BeachLife to the Southern California News Group.

“At this time, we’re unable to provide a full refund until we have finalized our reschedule, whereupon at that time we will be finalizing our refund policy,” the April 11 email reads.

The email also included a link to the ticket purchase terms and conditions page, which stated that tickets will be refunded at face value only, but costs such as service fees, handling and delivery charges would not be refunded.

For Sherwood those service fees amounted to $36.40 for both tickets.

“I don’t think they’re going to be able to easily reschedule this. I can see they just roll everything over into next year, that’s about the only thing they can do. But then I’m basically giving them a free loan for a year if they do that,” Sherwood said.

While he hasn’t asked for a refund yet, Torrance resident Stephen Nickerson isn’t happy about getting just the face value for his tickets but not the service fees if he asks for a refund in case he can’t attend the rescheduled event.

“I just think it’s bad business. It’s supposed to be a local festival and you’re drawing on local people,” said the 59-year-old, who purchased four weekend passes for $260 plus $63 in fees for all tickets.

“Those fees are hard to swallow anyway for these live events. But it’s not right for them to say ‘Hey we’re not going to do the show, we’ll refund you but the fees that we charged you for the work we didn’t do, we’re going to keep,” he said.

But BeachLife could be the ones actually swallowing those fees.

Sanford said some customers who needed refunds right away for health or financial needs have received refunds, including service fees.

“Legally we aren’t required to return the service fees, but we have been returning the service fees,” Sanford said.

In a statement later emailed to the Southern California News Group Sanford offered more details on the ticket refund policy.

“BeachLife will be announcing a rescheduled date within 60 days of the original festival date, and if 60 days has (passed) and we have not rescheduled the BeachLife Festival as promised, we will open a 30-day window whereby any and all requests for refunds will be processed for the full amount of purchase,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, BeachLife Festival will offer a free online show on May 1, no tickets needed.

The festival’s SpeakEasy stage, a new stage where musicians were set to turn down the volume and perform acoustically, will now be a livestream event from 5-9 p.m. on May 1 on the festival’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.