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Fest-Goers Turn to Chargebacks After Friday's Fun Fun Fun Fest Line Snafu

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT
Fun Fun Fun Fest attendees waited hours in the will call line that stretched as far as City Hall to get into the festival on Friday.

The Fun Fun Fun Fest will call line blew up the Internet on Friday night.

The hours-long line that backed up across Lady Bird Lake inspired a parody twitter account, a couple of irate Reddit threads and prompted an apology from the fest’s organizers, Transmission Entertainment.

The variables that caused the backup stretch almost as far as the line itself – the festival’s queue this year formed into one line, as opposed to multiple lines like in previous years, because of construction at Auditorium Shores; the will call line was understaffed; talks between the City of Austin and Transmission broke down as they were trying to find a quick fix for the line. The list goes on. And so did the line. Until about 8 p.m., when organizers dissolved the front gate and allowed people a chance to catch the last Friday acts free of charge.

For some, (including this reporter) it was a footnote to an otherwise pleasant festival experience. Others, it seemed, wanted revenge.

Since Transmission has kept a strict no refund policy since 2006, some are turning to credit card chargebacks, a work-around that could refund those with un-scanned tickets on the grounds that they didn’t get what they paid for.

Some took to Twitter, advising those in the line to take up arms against those responsible and an Austin Reddit thread gave explicit (in both detail and language) instructions and advice on how to go about requesting a chargeback.

So far, Queue, the company that handles Fun Fun Fun Fest’s ticketing, hasn’t seen an overwhelming amount of chargebacks on Monday. But CEO Greg Patterson says the chargebacks typically take a few days to process and he expects to see the reaction sometime early this week.

“We expect people to take whatever action they feel is appropriate, and we will react on a case-by-case basis – you know, respecting their experience and how we either performed to expectations or let them down and react appropriately,” Patterson says. “We just want to make people happy. We’re not here to take people’s money and not give them a good experience.”

Patterson points to Queue and Transmission’s extension of will call hours –nearly working 24 hours a day every night of the festival, he says – and the use of additional staff to alleviate lines on Saturday and Sunday as improvements over Friday, but he admits the backup was a pockmark on an otherwise smooth weekend. Patterson encourages fest-goers that are unsatisfied with the experience to contact Queue or Transmission and says the companies are working to improve ticketing for next year.

“We want to hear people. We’re here to hear people. We’re here to get yelled at, if they want to yell,” he says. “We’re here to try to find a solution for them. Anybody who didn’t want a solution that we could offer that day was invited to contact us after the festival.”

Did you wait in the line on Friday? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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