Tickets for the event cost between $15 and $20 and were available online but they have already sold out.
According to the website, proceeds from the three-day festival will be evenly split between the Huron Food Action Network and towards improving Goderich’s downtown.
Early bird tickets, general admission tickets and extended tickets (block one) are no longer available, according to Eventbrite.
A message posted on the festival’s Facebook page on Jan. 26 confirmed the event had “unexpectedly” sold out.
An updated Facebook post on Jan. 27 said organizers have received hundreds of emails, messages and comments inquiring about the prospect of more tickets. The post said they’re “looking into more options” and will try to make an announcement by the end of the day.
The second batch of 1,000 tickets went on sale at 9:00 a.m. but reportedly sold out by 9:01 am.
Many outraged people took to the event’s Facebook page to suggest that scalpers and bots were purchasing the tickets and selling them to make a profit for themselves.
Facebook user, Jacques Saumur, shared his opinion on the event’s page writing, “It is very sad to think that this is for a charity and a great one at that, since there’s so many fans like myself that would attend the event in a heartbeat, but because of scalpers who raided the site to get all the tickets and make a profit for themselves and not for the charity event.”
Global News reached out to Saumur about the ticket situation and he says that he went on Kijiji moments after the event was sold out.
“Indeed Kijiji does show them trying to sell the tickets by the bunch. One even show [sic] multiple posting by the 30 tickets per advertisement and another that I was discuss [sic] about was selling for $200/tickets without remorse that he was affecting the community for losing the money,” Saumur told Global News.
Saumur said that he went on to find all the ads on Kijiji for the event and reported them as scalpers and illegal activities. He took to the event’s Facebook page, encouraging others to do the same thing.
“After that I checked again and it seems all ads have been removed by Kijiji (good for them) to control this,” Saumur revealed to Global News.
When venturing onto the website, the ads show people looking for other people with tickets (like the postings below).
“We had been told that the first extended block of tickets were to go on sale this morning at 9am. There were 4 of us trying to get tickets (there are about 11 in our group who want to go). We all had the number of tickets we needed to get and were ready to go just before 9am,” another Facebook user, who’d like to remain anonymous, said.
“We all seemed to experience the same thing. Just before 9am the new blocks were posted with the status stating that the sale would start Jan 31, 2017. I kept refreshing the browser waiting for the Tickets option to become available.”
“By 9:02/9:03am the tickets still hadn’t become available to purchase,” the Facebook user said, describing their experience. “By 9:05am they had gone to Unavailable (meaning they were sold out – but to keep trying as some might become available). I think I kept refreshing the browser for another 5-10 mins – just hoping that something would come up.”
“At one point it came up that 13 tickets were available. I selected 5 (the max) and hit checkout. It automatically said that they weren’t available. Then it went to 8 and then finally 1. Each time it would say they weren’t available when I went to check out. We’re going to try again tonight at 6pm, so we’ll see what happens then.”
The Facebook user said that it’s been very frustrating.
“My friends and I are all huge Harry Potter fans so were looking forward to attending the festival. To be honest, we didn’t even know about the festival until the tickets actually went on sale and by the time we were able to discuss it they were all gone.”
When we asked the event organizers if they were unhappy with the way the tickets have been selling out, they told Global News “Yes, and no.”
“We are of course happy that we’ve exceeded our ticket-selling goals and that we’ll be able to help many local causes. We are unhappy that we can’t figure out a way to let everyone be a part of our fan festival.”
The event organizers are not willing to pull the plug on the event if it was bots that purchased the tickets so quickly.
“No, we cannot confirm the bots and it would be too difficult to confirm legitimate and illegitimate purchases. We do not recommend buying tickets from scalpers as they could be fakes or doubles. We will do our best to make scalping as difficult as possible moving forward but again, the best way to eliminate scalping is to make it unprofitable.”
The Transfigured Town: Goderich Facebook account told Global News that they have received all sorts of comments from people who feel snubbed but “we don’t let it get to us.”
“The reality is that there are tens of thousands of people who want to get into an event that only has room for half or less even. We are currently talking with The Harry Potter Society of London Ontario to organize another similar but different event in 2018 but it’s far too early to make any announcements at this time.”
Goderich transformed its downtown core last October for its first annual Harry Potter and the Transfigured Town event, which was a one-day festival.
The main attraction was the Huron County museum, which was also the starting point of the scavenger hunt, where participants toured as wizards to learn about the muggle (non-wizard) world.
The 2017 event will include Quidditch tournaments with the Official Quidditch Canada Matches for “Goderic’s Cup” and Maurader’s Cup unofficial quidditch match for pickup teams.
The festival will also include multiple vendors and participating businesses, a Poly-Wizard tournament, a house challenge, a scavenger hunt, free face painting and live performances by The Lovegoods, as well as Tonks and the Aurors.
Another batch of tickets will go on sale Jan. 31 at 6:00 p.m. (EST). Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.
The website for the event states that this fan festival “is no way associated with Rowling, Scholastic Books or Warner Bros., nor are they liable in any way for this event.”