Revellers who attended the Wine Machine music festival in the Hunter Valley have demanded refunds and compared the trendy event to the disastrous Fyre Festival.
The Wine Machine festival, run on the sprawling Roche Estate, was marketed as a showcase of the region’s best wine and food, supported by live music.
But festivalgoers who spent as much as $150 for tickets say the event was a disaster from start to finish – when a wild thunderstorm forced over 55,000 attendees to be evacuated in the dark as dangerous mudslides began to form.
Revellers who attended the Wine Machine music festival in the Hunter Valley have slammed the event as unorganised and compared it to the disastrous Fyre Festival
The festival, run on the sprawling Roche Estate, was marketed as a showcase of the region’s best wine and food (pictured, two festivalgoers on the day)
The event went awry early in the day, with festivalgoers complaining of long lines at bars and a freshly-imposed rule meaning they could only buy two drinks at a time.
Photographs posted to social media showed huge snaking queues, even in the VIP sections, with some claiming they were made to wait as long as two hours for a beer.
Event organisers later blamed a shortage of bar staff on a mysterious ‘incident’ involving ‘two mini-buses carrying 32 staff’ on their way to the festival.
Dozens of music lovers complained that the sound quality was so poor certain acts could hardly be heard and that ‘the sound was cutting out almost every hour’.
One attendee said the pizza he purchased from a vendor at the event was still frozen in the middle, and had been ‘pulled straight out of a packet’.
He went on to describe the ‘panic and pandemonium’ that ensued when organisers announced the event had been cancelled before the headline DJ act, Hot Dub Time Machine, performed.
Hours into the festival and before the headline act, Hot Dub Time Machine, could perform, the grounds were rained out and everybody was evacuated
The grounds were reduced to mud pits after a substantial amount of rainfall, thunder and lighning
Another said staff showed ‘absolutely no regard’ for patrons safety while ushering them out of the event.
‘When the storm hit, you guys were not concerned about the safety of your patrons. It was ‘how quick can we kick them out into the lightning’,’ he said.
‘A tree came down in front of us and a guy broke his leg. So much for duty of care.’
While huge crowds of concerned festivalgoers were directed out of the venue as rain bucketed down, others desperately searched for shelter from the storm.
A group of roughly 20 people packed themselves into a disabled toilet like sardines in a last-ditch effort to escape the storm.
Other gripes included a surcharge on all card transactions, despite the event being advertised as ‘cashless’ and the fact there was no chardonnay on offer – even though the festival boasted about serving ‘the best chardy ever’.
Some revellers embraced the downpour while others sought shelter before the event was cancelled
Some festivalgoers have noted while the weather was out of anybody’s control, organisers could have handled the situation better
Social media was quickly flooded with negative reviews from disappointed revellers, with many drawing comparisons to the doomed Fyre Festival.
Fyre, which was billed as a ‘luxury music festival’ in the Bahamas and promoted by models including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, was indefinitely postponed after a number of issues involving food, accommodation and performers.
Instead of luxurious villas and gourmet food, attendees were served prepackaged sandwiches and expected to sleep in tents after paying thousands of dollars for tickets.
Revellers have claimed Wine Machine was ‘worse than Fyre Festival’, while others are calling it ‘Fyre Festival 2.0’.
‘Hey Fyre Festival 2.0, when are you refunding our money for the world’s worst organised party?,’ one disappointed customer asked the event.
‘This was my worst festival experience, from the layout to the bloody queue that took up to an hour to be served.’
‘They have no clue how to run a festival… this is dead and buried’.
The organisers have suggested headlining act Hot Dub Time Machine will offer another show for disappointed fans
The day was marketed as a showcase of the region’s best wine and food, supported by live music
The 2019 event went awry early on in the day, with festivalgoers initially complaining of long lines at bars and a freshly imposed rule meaning they could only buy two drinks at a time
The festival has since apologised for the manner in which the situation was handled.
They said the congestion at bars could be put down to stricter licensing laws that have been enforced across the state.
‘Due to the current climate in NSW, severe licensing conditions were placed upon the event limiting drinks to two per person causing unacceptable congestion at the bars,’ they wrote.
‘Two of our staffing mini-buses carrying 32 staff were also reportedly involved in an incident whilst en route from Sydney resulting in bars being under staffed.’
Revellers paid up to $150 for tickets to the sold out event, with many saying it didn’t meet expectations in regard to food, alcohol or entertainment.
A photograph posted to Wine Machine’s official Instagram offering an apology was eventually taken down after it became inundated with negative comments.
Organisers are yet to mention whether refunds will be offered to disappointed festivalgoers.
But they did say to ‘stay tuned in the coming days for an announcement from Hot Dub Time Machine who is hoping to throw a complimentary make-up show for those disappointed he didn’t get to play.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the organisers of Wine Machine for comment.
A photograph posted to Wine Machine’s official Instagram offering an apology was eventually taken down after it became inundated with negative comments. Pictured: Revellers at festival
The festival have since apologised for the manner in which the situation was handled