Sandance organisers have confirmed full refund to ticket holders after the New Year’s Eve chaos that saw thousands of people unable to reach the December 31 party at Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah.
The full statement reads: "Sandance is known for amazing experiences and we are extremely sorry for the huge inconvenience to all of our guests who had purchased tickets to attend the event on New Year's Eve 2013. We understand that many guests wanted to enjoy Sandance on this special night and were unable to reach the venue or experienced significant traffic delays.
"The situation was influenced by different factors that were not entirely owned by us, however feedback from our guests is extremely important to us and we are taking action to reimburse all New Year's Eve Sandance ticket holders the full ticket value.
"We are asking all New Year's Eve Sandance ticket holders to visit the following website www.SandanceNYE2013.com which will be live from Monday January 6 until Sunday January 12, 2014 and fill in the short form to ensure we have all the details to make the process fast and effective for you.
"Additionally, we would like offer every ticket holder of the New Year's Eve Sandance event a 50 per cent discount on the entrance ticket value for the next Sandance music festival and we hope to welcome you back.
"We are thanking all fans of Sandance for your continued support and understanding."
The move has been welcomed by the public with Jacqui Saxby writing: "They said all ticket holders will be refunded. That means everyone who made it to the event or didn't. Good on you Sandance."
Ian Sanders wrote: "Well done to Sandance for stepping up. Further bad management of this situation would've been an epic fail that probably would spell the end for them."
As reported earlier, people, were demanding an apology and a full refund on tickets after the December 31 debacle that saw thousands of ticketholders unable to reach the NYE party due to traffic chaos and a logistical breakdown.
Many reported being injured in a "stampede" and "riot-like" conditions at the American University of Dubai where wristbands were being handed out to board the shuttle buses to the NYE party at Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah.
Irate customers launch online petition against Sandance organisers
An online petition is the latest twist in the Sandance saga that is demanding an apology and a full refund on tickets after the December 31 debacle that saw thousands of ticketholders unable to reach the NYE party due to traffic chaos and a logistical breakdown.
The petition, launched by Gaurav M, recounts the horrors he and his three friends endured that night when crowds were routed to the American University of Dubai to collect the wristbands and board the buses that would shuttle them to the Sandance party on Atlantis beach, The Palm Jumeirah.
The petition reads: “…The crowd was packed elbow to elbow and there were hundreds of people in that line with tempers flaring. The marshals [seemed] to have given up on controlling the crowd and people were pushing from the back every few minutes.
“There were people being crushed and no one to help them. At around 8.15 no rules applied and people attempted to jump the fence with the marshals turning a blind eye.”
Picture credit: Sue Sandance, a Facebook community page that has already reached 150 likes with people posting images of injuries sustained
Nearly 150 people have already signed the petition, while a ‘NYE Scamdance’ Facebook page has nearly 400 likes already.
Reports and videos of fights breaking out, along with a woman being hit in the face and other violent acts have been doing the rounds on social media and Sandance’s own Facebook event page, before it was taken down.
Meanwhile, others have posted on the same page to lodge an official complaint with the Consumer Affairs section at the Department of Economic Development, demanding a full refund for the tickets, which cost Dh450 for regulars, Dh600 for VIPs and tables that started at Dh4,500 and cost up to Dh50,000.
Due to The Palm Jumeirah traffic restrictions being imposed on the night of December 31, organisers had informed the approximate 17,000 ticket holders that the only way to reach the venue would be via the 70 double-decker shuttle buses that would depart from AUD between 5pm and 9pm.
A special bus lane for Sandance party revellers was also advertised, which never materialised.
As the evening progressed, crowds swelled at AUD, with barriers being pushed down and people reporting a “stampede” and “riot-like” conditions around 8pm, as they made a beeline for the limited buses that were to shuttle them to the party.
However, the traffic on The Palm continued to swell with cars and buses stalled for hours on the trunk, forcing many to abandon the buses and walk the 5km to the venue after many reported being stuck in the gridlock for nearly three hours.
But the drama was far from over.
Those who reached the tunnel before Atlantis hotel found their way barricaded by authorities until after the 12.30am fireworks were set off on The Palm Jumeirah.
Many who paid the money to attend this NYE party, which touted talents including Paul Oakenfold, Axwell and Emelie Sande, were forced to return without even attending the party.
Sandance organisers posted an official statement on their website, saying they were “extremely sorry” for the turn of events, posting: “We are extremely sorry that after months of preparations with the local authorities that some of our guests were not able to reach Sandance or experienced significant traffic delays…
“We regret that many guests did not experience Sandance as it was planned and will provide a resolution for the guests that were impacted within the next 48 hours.”
Meanwhile, those who were able to attend the event have posted they “enjoyed the smashing line-up” and that the “music was fabulous as always”, but complained that due to the lack of taxis at the venue itself, and later at AUD, many were forced to walk home at 4am or pay higher fare to taxis, with VIP ticket holder Anuj S saying that he paid Dh100 for a cab to shuttle him across the road from AUD to Tecom.
A final resolution from the organisers is expected tomorrow.