A massive adults-only bouncy playground event that happened over the weekend of Dec 7 to 9 apparently flopped, with low footfall despite it being the festive and holiday season.
And now, infuriated vendors – who claim that they’ve made losses of four- to five-figure sums – are blaming event organisers for not bringing in the expected turnout.
Held at Palawan Green in Sentosa, the Get The Fun Out (GTFO) festival was free to the public, but those who wanted to hop on the main attraction – The Beast – had to buy tickets priced from S$37 (US$27).
Vendor Yummers.sg, which rented five units (six stalls) at that event, told Business Insider that the company only took in a total of S$1,200 over the span of three days, and made a total loss of S$15,000 to S$16,000.
Founder Erwan Jay added that the three-day rental fees alone amounted to somewhere between S$10,000 to S$11,000.
In an email sent in November, a representative from GTFO told Business Insider that it was expecting around 200,000 to 300,000 people to turn up for the festival (and around 15,000 people to jump on The Beast).
An unnamed vendor reportedly told The New Paper that the organiser had given varying estimates of the expected turnout, ranging from 10,000 to 300,000, to different vendors. According to that vendor, the actual turnout was closer to 1,000.
But Felix Sim, festival producer at GTFO, refuted the claim in a statement provided to Business Insider on Monday (Dec 10), saying that there was no promised footfall.
“The claims of ‘promised footfall’ by some of these vendors are false claims, and despite repeated requests for them to prove those claims, there were none submitted to us.
“In public events, it is common knowledge that no organiser can or will guarantee any footfall, and since these vendors are regular festival vendors, the principle of caveat emptor applies.”
In the statement, Sim also revealed that only around 1,000 participants jumped on The Beast over the three days.
In the report by The New Paper, the anonymous vendor also claimed that he initially wanted to withdraw because of the “recent erratic weather”, but the GTFO organiser “threatened him with a small claims suit”.
But according to Sim, the vendor had given a different reason when requesting to pull out of the event.
“(The vendor) tried to cancel the contract at the last minute, telling us he was having legal problems with his investors and that he was being sued by the other director of his company.”
Other vendors have expressed disappointment that marketing outreach for the event was not done well.
One vendor, who also declined to be named, told Business Insider that her stall only made S$40 to S$80 in one day.
“Literally no earnings. We feel that marketing was insufficient, and (the organisers) had a lack of experience,” the vendor said.
In response to the criticism, Sim said: “Despite the marketing efforts we’ve pushed out in the past few months, the actual footfall fell way below our projections, which were based on reasonable estimates over a December weekend in Sentosa.”
And it wasn’t just vendors who’d made losses. Sim told The New Paper that the organiser had also suffered a loss of about S$50,000.
He told Business Insider: “We believe it is unfair for vendors to penalise event organisers for their own losses, when event organisers don’t benefit from any upside from their stall at festivals.”
A third vendor who responded to Business Insider said that a set of slides sent to him by GTFO listed activities such as fitness workshops, special stations, live bands and DJs – all of which were absent, according to him.
Some of the vendors said they had been discussing with one another on ways to take action against the organiser, The New Paper reported.
Amidst all the drama, it seems the show must go on.
According to Sim, there will be another installment of the GTFO festival in 2019, and there are plans to also include a unique inflatable playground for kids and families next year.