When one of the summer’s ultimate experiences – party Sexy Groovy Love (SGL) announced in October that the festival was making a comeback after a 20-month pause due to the pandemic, festival fairies and groovers alike popped metaphorical champagne bottles of excitement.
“To say the very least, we have missed you,” SGL wrote in their Instagram post to fans announcing their comeback and that the event would be happening in a reunion with venue The Manor of Magic or Cascade Country Manor in Paarl.
People were beyond thrilled and ‘early bird’ tickets sold out like the last toilet paper rolls in the pandemic’s early stages.
The lineup was also partly to do with the success of sales, as artists including Culoe De Song, The Other DJs, Bantwanas, Fog Show and Mila Rose were announced for the fest day on 20 November.
As of the present, the Manor of Magic’s collab with SGL has recently been announced as sold out.
However, it might not be too late to get a ticket, as many people are embarking on a journey of refunds and frustration following a later announcement by SGL regarding the event that people are dubbing a case of disorganisation.
In a follow-up post, the event organisers announced critical information regarding COVID-19 procedures – something many believe should’ve been included before ticket sales were opened.
“In order to host an event where people are free to move around uninhibited, we have facilitated a plan to create a space that is as safe as possible,” SGL’s statement read.
“To achieve this, we require everyone (including staff) coming to the event to be tested within 72 hours before the event – this applies to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated attendees.
“Many of you may ask why we require the vaccinated to be tested – this is due to the fact that you can still carry and pass on the virus if you have been vaccinated.”
The statement further indicated that if one does not have a negative test result, access to the magic won’t be allowed.
Given that there was “just a three-day window period between the announcement and refund applications, as IOL reports, people were highly frustrated.
“I’m all for being safe (that’s why I got vaccinated) but why not disclose this when the event was created and not only wait until the tickets are sold out to mention this. Feels like another money-making scheme to me. What about people that work during the week from 8-5, when are we supposed to get tested if it has to be within 72 hours. The queue on Saturday will probably be so long one will miss the party all together…”
Another user @ann_chovies also brought up frustration to do with communication:
“I think it would be a good idea to email your customers about this. We don’t all follow you on social media… I only saw this now because the post was sponsored. This is not sufficient communication.”
Additionally, a few people mentioned that there are costs involved with getting the rapid antigen test (the test required), to which others humorously mused as ironic in their opinions given the bracket of people who were able to afford tickets for the festival in the first place.
What this redirects festival-goers, and organisers attention to is that as much as things have eased up, COVID-19 does still exist. As much as there may be an atmosphere of evident freedom, the world as we once knew it has changed, and with it, elements of standard procedure will, for the foreseeable future be laced with COVID-19 prevention. Potential super spreader events especially have to take this into account, however, the way they do this and communicate thus requires just as much thought as every lighting set-up, beat drop and ticket sale.
Picture: Sexy Groovy Love