Become an OC Media Member

Support independent journalism in the Caucasus: Join today

Become a member

Georgia’s GEM Fest music festival leaves employees without pay

17 August 2017

A number of employees of the GEM Fest electronic music festival are planning to sue the festival, after not being paid.

Forty-two employees worked for a month in several different positions during the festival, but were not paid after it finished, according to local media reports.

The festival, which is co-funded by the government, ran from 14 July to 14 August in Anaklia, a small seaside town in western Georgia.

After not being paid, employees gathered at the entrance of the venue to protest.

Local media outlet Livepress reported that the majority of the protesters were employed in the ticket sales department. Some were paid ₾100 ($40) instead of the ₾500 ($200) they were promised.

After protests from the employees and a number of labour rights groups, the employees were promised they would be compensated in mid-September. However, they say they will go to court. ‘These people violated the terms of the contract, so we cannot trust their words’, Netgazeti quoted one of the employees.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association, a rights group assisting the employees, is to file a complaint against the festival on 18 August.

The festival has not responded to the claims.

However, on 10 August, GEM Fest founder Giorgi Sigua wrote that the festival ‘did not turn out to be financially successful’, because of ‘false expectations’, bad weather, and the death of a young woman on 3 August reportedly after taking recreational drugs.

[Read on OC Media: Drug campaigners blame authorities for GemFest death]