Aussies are being warned to “do their research” before attending a self-described “hippy” festival touring the country, with some warning not all is what it seems.
“Peace, love, hope” festival, the Summer of Love, is coming to the Gold Coast’s Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds at the end of September for two days and will host a number of market stalls and entertainment events.
The upcoming festival has been promoted on its Facebook page since May 19 and is calling on “all ageing hippies and their grandchildren” to attend on September 30 and October 1.
A call out for folk artists and under 16 performers was also listed, presumably so the festival can start putting together its line-up.
However, as was first reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin, some locals who attended the same event at Albion Park in the Shellharbour region on January 21 and 22 this year have shared some alarming details about their experience.
The controversial Summer of Love festival was touring Australia was set to be held at Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds from September 30 to October 1 this year.
In comments that have since been deleted, locals slammed the festival organisers for misleading them into thinking they were attending a family event which they claimed to be deeply religious.
The complaints spanned from guests to vendors, and included criticisms of the event’s “lack of organisation” and first aid as well as the existence of churchlike activities.
One guest, whose comment still remains active in a private Facebook group, said she felt “genuinely scared” after leaving the festival.
“It is NOT for hippies! They’re a church group, who try and grab you and baptise you and ‘heal’ you,” she alleged.
Attendee Paula Jimenez also alleged it was a “religious festival” which “misled” its guests.
“There was a baptism pool. If that’s not Christian or religious then I’m Donald Trump,” she told news.com.au.
On one occasion, a stallholder who “invested a lot of time and equipment into the event” and travelled far to experience what was her first market, received a shock when she discovered there was no first-aider to help her injured son.
“My son broke his arm at the event just before we were about to leave and there was no first aid officer or station, or ambo on call,” she shared to Facebook.
“Some lady (then) tried to make me go over to the natural healing tent … I very kindly told her off and took him to (the) hospital.”
Ms Jimenez added when a first aid kit was required, the event’s organiser “used” the local football club’s equipment.
“(They also) used the footy club gazebos and left them broken in front of the canteen,” she alleged.
The petting zoo at January’s Summer of Love festival in Albion. Picture: Facebook / Summer of Love
Meanwhile another vendor said the event was “poorly organised” as no one was available to show them where they could set up their store.
“When we found out it was about Jesus, we were even more disappointed,” she said.
Other stall holders complained the event didn’t meet up to the “massive festival” they were expecting, with one food vendor telling news.com.au it was a complete loss for his business.
The seller, who didn’t wish to be named, estimated no more than 400 people attended the festival on the first day and he made less than $100 in sales.
“I don’t think any vendors (made a profit). They completely over catered for the event,” he said.
This sentiment was also expressed by Albion local Dan Hicking, who shares a close relationship with local leaders and organisations.
While Mr Hicking didn’t personally attend the event, he heard from several vendors they had been “let down” by the event organisers.
“A lot of these stall holders apparently prepared for crowds of over 1000 people, but when they got there, there were maybe 20 or 30 people there at any given time during the day,” he told news.com.au.
“So a lot of these stallholders didn’t come back on the second day.”
Mr Hicking believes the festival deleted as many negative comments as they could regarding attendees’ poor experiences to “save face”, as the event continues to tour the country.
“(The negative comments) were only up for about probably 10 minutes before they were taken down,” he said.
Attendees allege there was no first aid at the event in Albion in January. Picture: Facebook / Summer of Love
The local believes the Summer of Love could have been a more widely-celebrated event if it had better advertising, specified “religious activities” would take place and hosted the event on a different weekend to the Albion Park Show.
“We want more festivals to come to the area, events like this. And if they did it properly, they probably could have had a lot more people coming to it,” Mr Hicking said.
“There are a lot of religious people in our area, so they probably would have had a better turnout.
“And don‘t advertise it as a hippy festival. That was the way it came across and how it’s also coming across now. Just be honest with people and you will probably get a better turnout.”
Mr Hicking also offered one last piece of advice for Queenslanders thinking about attending the event.
“Just make sure you know exactly where you‘re going to, there are some things that aren’t religious at this event … like local musos so obviously there’s going to be a lot of people that are not religious but also just be wary that it is a predominantly a religious event,” he said.
The Summer of Love festival is a non-profit association which aims to deliver “family friendly” events.
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According to its website, choir, dancing and drama performances, gospel, blues and rock music and a petting zoo are among some of the activities which will be available across the two-day event.
News.com.au contacted the festival for comment, however organisers did not reply prior to this article’s publication.
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