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Texas Eclipse Festival to offer partial refund due to weather cancellation

Thousands had traveled to Burnet to view the total solar eclipse on April 8.
Deborah Cannon
KUT News
Thousands had traveled to Burnet to view the total solar eclipse on April 8.

Organizers of the Texas Eclipse Festival announced last week that they would offer partial refunds to attendees because the event ended a day early.

But patrons with disabilities interviewed by the Texas Standard said they’ve received no response from organizers to their concerns about inaccessibility.

All tickets will be automatically partially refunded, according to a message posted to the festival’s website on May 2. The refund policy is based on the ticket the attendee purchased and will not include the taxes, fees or shipping cost.

The costs of camping and other accommodations add-ons will be refunded 25% as well.

Refunds for tickets paid for in full will process no later than May 10, according to the website, though it may take longer for tickets that were on ongoing payment plans.

The festival took place in Burnet County, about an hour outside of Austin. Nearly 40,000 people gathered for live music and interactive art displays to celebrate the total solar eclipse that passed over Central Texas on Monday, April 8.

But organizers asked folks to evacuate right after the eclipse reached totality, around 1:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, citing extreme weather in the forecast. The cancellation, and rumors of mismanagement on social media, spurred calls for refunds and even investigations.

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Guests with disabilities, who said the festival was particularly mishandled for them, have received no indication they will receive any direct response to their complaints.

The festival billed itself to be fully accessible for guests with disabilities. But according to a Texas Standard deep dive into their experiences, guests with limited mobility reported issues at the festival from the start.

Tanya Valencia, who uses a wheelchair, said she didn’t even make it inside the festival grounds on the first day before deciding to leave because the lack of disability accommodations didn’t feel safe for her.

Sal Bonaccorso, who ran into this issue attending the festival with his 78-year-old mother, Rosy, had called on the festival organizers to offer refunds to disabled patrons.

“Having 25% of the festival refunded is a good place for them to make it right,” he said. “I think it’s a great step, and it’s kind of like a no-questions-asked step in the right direction.”

Bonaccorso said he hasn’t heard anything from organizers about additional refunds for guests who needed accommodations and did not receive them. The festival’s PR team did not respond to an email about additional refunds for disabled guests.

More details about the refund policy can be found online.

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