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'Poor communication': Calgary ticketholders uncertain about rescheduled 'Banksy' event

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Uncertainty is growing among customers who bought tickets for an upcoming show in Calgary featuring the works of renowned street artist Banksy.

A former employee of the company producing the World of Banksy Exhibit reached out to CTV News claiming he and other workers have been laid off – and he fears the show will not go ahead.

According to the World of Banksy website, the “secret location” for the event is supposed to be revealed one to two weeks before. The three-day exhibit is scheduled to open on June 7 – after it was rescheduled from dates in April.

Lumio Studio, the company behind the event, alerted ticketholders via email that the Banksy art pieces were held up at the border due to issues with U.S. Customs, and despite efforts to expedite the process, the decision was made to push back the show.

Tickets were reissued to customers for the corresponding day of the week and time slot. Each purchaser was offered a $20 gift shop credit.

But according to Erik Wolf, who said he was laid off by Portland-based Lumio Studio, there was never a venue booked for Calgary.

He believes the company might have run into financial problems. He claims he was not paid for several weeks of work before he was let go.

“A lot of people have spent a lot of money and have been looking forward to this,” Wolf said.

“Up until my termination, I realized if he can’t pay me, he’s not going to put on the show.”

CTV News reached out to Lumio Studio to ask about Wolf’s claims, but the email bounced back. We also reached out to the company’s CEO Kelly Dachtler and left a voicemail.

Jackie Bernard bought two tickets to see the show with a friend who planned to travel to Calgary from Edmonton for a weekend.

She said she has been trying to secure a refund, unsuccessfully, for the tickets ever since the show was rescheduled to dates in June.

“It’s just a really unsatisfactory experience, poor communication, I’m really disappointed,” Bernard said.

She said she started to have some questions about the event when there was still no venue attached a couple of weeks before the originally scheduled dates.

Bernard reached out to Lumio Studio, and after initially receiving an automatic reply, was alerted that the show had been pushed back to June – when she wouldn’t be able to attend.

The two tickets cost just under $80, but Bernard is unsure if she is ever going to get that money back.

“I’m happy to spend money to go to certain concerts, or to go to certain artistic performances, but I don’t do it very often,” she said.

“I don’t have a lot of disposable income, so here’s this $80 that I may never see again, and that really doesn’t leave me with a very positive feeling at all.”

Upcoming shows are no longer listed on the event’s website and tickets can no longer be purchased.

The show ran in some other cities under the name Banksyland, getting mixed reviews.

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