A group of Harry Potter fans who believed they were attending the ultimate wizard-themed party witnessed a magnificent magic trick.
Unfortunately, the trick was discovering that the $50 event was a “more than deceptive” and “shockingly terrible” scam, as described by many participants.
Originally promoted as an “adults-only” festival for enthusiasts of the wizarding world, the November 15 event was organized by the LOL Event Group in Montreal, Canada. Those who purchased tickets were promised a long list of Harry Potter-themed amenities, including “Boozy Butterbeer” and other magical cocktails, “Cauldron Cakes,” and numerous other creatively-named treats.
The event was also scheduled to feature Harry Potter quizzes, a live band, photo opportunities with lookalikes, and “the opportunity to explore a cobblestone alley to choose your wand.”
However, when the expected 600 people arrived at Rialto Theatre for the event, they were confronted with a drastically different experience. According to VICE, nearly none of the events, refreshments, and decorations advertised for the event were present that evening.
Instead of “Cauldron Cakes” and “Luna Love’s Pudding,” guests received aluminum trays of what many characterized as lukewarm, supermarket-bought appetizers.
Traditional beverages, which reportedly cost up to $9, were provided to attendees in their place. The so-called “magic wands”? They were chopsticks that had been dropped onto a table next to a whiteboard sign that read “Baguette Magique” (French for “magic wand”).
Georgiana Elias, a participant, told the CBC, “It was startlingly awful.” I wouldn’t even create such an exercise for children.
Elias then referred to the occasion as “our own mini Fyre Festival,” referencing the 2017 “luxury” music festival that went viral after an attendee uploaded a photo of their embarrassingly inadequate dinner. This festival, for which tickets cost between $450 to $12,000, was finally canceled due to numerous complaints, artist withdrawals, and logistical concerns.
Thankfully, nobody at the Harry Potter event paid that much, but many have demanded refunds. Several guests have already started a Facebook group with more than 300 members committed to voicing their grievances about the party and hunting for ways to get their money back.
The “Cheated by LOL Event Group” group has not yet received reimbursements from the company; nevertheless, many have documented their attempts to do so.
“Our team put a lot of effort into organizing and executing this event, and we are profoundly disheartened to receive this kind of feedback […].” As stated on the event website, our refund policy prohibits returns seven days before the event. Because your refund request does not comply with this policy, we cannot grant your request,” the firm informed an irate participant.
LOL Event Group has denied that the party was ever intended to be Harry Potter-themed. Several participants have contested this assertion, as event descriptions featured libations based on character names, photos of décor showing banners of all four Hogwarts houses, and shots of a facsimile of Platform 9 3/4, the mythical train platform where Hogwarts students begin their school year.
Elias told the CBC that the situation felt like a complete scam.