Event organiser goes to ground as Bulli foam festival pops without a trace

Riya Deniau in 2014. Photo: Adam Trafford

An event organiser on the South Coast of NSW behind what was billed as “festival like no other” has gone to ground after the event failed to materialise.

The Festival of Foam and Light was scheduled for this week’s public holiday on Monday at Bulli Showground.

However, the showground remained empty all day, leaving a trail of suppliers empty handed.

The organiser, Jagat A Deniau – who also goes by the name Riya Deniau – has gone to ground and a Facebook page for the event was shut down.

Deniau lodged an application for the festival with Wollongong City Council in May. However, red flags started appearing quickly with the event date chaging twice and suppliers failing to be paid deposits.

The festival website spruiked foam pits, an inflatable obstacle course, rides, food trucks, live music and light shows for thousands of attendees. The reality was very different, with council approval for only a maximum of 700 attendees, noise restrictions including a ban on fireworks and no alcohol.

There was also no evidence that attendees could purchase tickets either at the door or online.

Wollongong production company Pro Sounds and Lighting was to provide staging, lighting, a laser show, the foam and source live music, but didn’t order the equipment as they felt it “all seemed a bit strange”.

“We thought it was going to be a great event, until we researched it a bit more,” production manager Leonard Buckley told The Mercury.

They pulled out after failing to secure any payments from Deniau. But other smaller stallholders are still out of pocket after they paid stall fees of varying amounts to be part of the event.

Deniau emailed a number of them advising them that “due to unforeseen circumstances I have had to withdraw the event” but no refunds have been forthcoming as of yet.

It is not the first time Deniau has come under scrutiny, with a string of failed events in Cairns to her name.