Rock USA, Country USA concert-goers finding it hard to get answers on refunds

Rock USA, Country USA concert-goers finding it hard to get answers on refunds, June 8, 2020. (WLUK)

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WLUK) -- The show won't go on at two of the biggest music festivals in the state this year. Country USA and Rock USA typically bring hundreds of thousands to Oshkosh in the summer, but were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, some people are having a hard time getting their money back.

“Once they canceled, they completely went off the grid,” said Josh Oakley of Kaukauna. "They don’t respond to anyone.”

Many, like Mattie Anna Betts of Wausau, are frustrated.

“Unless they can, honestly, get their (expletive) together, meet what their customers need, things would be a lot better,” she said. “We just want some answers!”

You won't get a hold of anyone, if you call the number listed for Country USA or Rock USA. The recorded message says to send an email or Facebook message.

Some say that isn't working either.

“I’ve messaged them through Facebook, I’ve emailed out to see if they’re gonna issue refunds, or if they’re just gonna make everyone transfer to 2021,” said Anna Tihlarik of Phillips. “I’ve gotten no response!”

Betts says, on Facebook Messenger, it shows that messages aren’t even being seen anymore.

“They don’t return phone calls, or they say to message people on Facebook and no replies back,” she said. “Nothing updated on the website, or anything.”

One person asked about refunds for canceled concerts months ago.

The response then was, “In the unlikely event that the festival were to be canceled, you would receive a full refund.”

Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says that's exactly what people are owed.

“If there’s a concert that you’ve prepaid a ticket for, and it’s been canceled, you are entitled to a refund,” said administrator for the department’s trade and consumer protection division Lara Sutherlin. “You should contact the promoter within 90 days of learning the event is canceled.”

The unanswered questions and lack of information have left a bad taste in the mouth of several concert-goers.

“There’s a lot of people on there saying that they’re not gonna go to Rock USA anymore,” Tihlarik said. “There’s plenty of other shows that we can go to.”

Sutherlin says not hearing back from organizers is why they’re there to help.

“We should be contacted if you can’t resolve it, and if you think there’s a violation, or just to let us know,” she said. “Certainly, promoters are probably underwater and they probably don’t have the staff, necessarily, to respond, but of course that’s not an excuse to violate the law.”

Statements on the Rock USA and Country USA Facebook pages say tickets purchased can also be applied to next year.

“Who’s to say that I’m gonna be able to get the time off next year? Who’s to say I’m even gonna be around next year, you know what I mean?” said Tihlarik

Oakley and others say they’re now out hundreds of dollars.

“Tickets, campsite, you know, I got over a thousand dollars invested into it,” Oakley said.

FOX 11 made several attempts to contact the music festival promoters.

We have not heard back.