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A virtual reality art exhibit called “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” on Thursday finally announced its “secret location” for Philadelphia as the Tower Theater in Upper Darby.
After early August show dates were postponed without details, Philadelphians who spent hundreds of dollars on tickets were worried about a possible scam. Fever, the European events company producing the show, has spurred hundreds of complaints to the Better Business Bureau.
The “immersive” show has drawn skepticism nationwide. It has a similar name to other touring Van Gogh events, and customers say the company has failed to keep them in the loop.
While some Philly-area residents got an email announcing the Tower Theater location, a venue spokesperson declined to confirm the booking Thursday afternoon.
Barbara Hauck-Mah hadn’t yet gotten the email, she said. She bought tickets for her family to visit the Philly showing scheduled for Aug. 29. Her credit card was charged $300.
“I cannot get a confirmed location from Fever for this event, by either calling or emailing them,” Hauck-Mah told Billy Penn on Thursday. “This was supposed to be our family’s celebration with our daughter and her husband for their 1-year anniversary.”
In a statement to 6ABC, a Fever spokesperson blamed “COVID restrictions on global transport,” and vowed to give customers more info soon.
Philly resident Bertha Bauer said she and a friend have tickets for the Aug. 18 event. Like Hauck-Mah, she hadn’t yet gotten an update.
“Apparently people who’ve had tickets for the Van Gogh immersive experience in Philadelphia are being cancelled without explanation or refund,” Bauer said. “My friend and I have tickets for this Wednesday evening with no idea if it’s happening or where it’s happening.”
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience seems to be the only one of its kind coming to Philadelphia right now. But worldwide, there are several others.
The potentially sketchy version coming to Philly later this month is different than Immersive Van Gogh, a seemingly real exhibit based on one shown in the Netflix show “Emily in Paris.” That show has already welcomed visitors in New York, Detroit, San Francisco and other cities across the country — but not Philadelphia.
The confusion is happening all over the country.
In Boston, there are three competing exhibits featuring works of the Dutch post-impressionist painter. A blogger wrote that Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience — the one coming to Philly — hasn’t been answering customer complaints there, either.
Still, there’s reason to believe it might be legit. The same exhibit seems to have opened without incident in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Fever spokesperson Melanie Kimmelman says the Van Gogh exhibit has already welcomed 350,000 guests in Atlanta, New York, Miami and Las Vegas.
Kimmelman added that Fever will allow guests whose shows were postponed to choose a new date, or grant them a full refund.
Is the Philly event actually going to come to fruition? The location announcement sent out by Fever sounds confident.
“It’s a secret no more! Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will take place at The Tower [Theater],” the announcement read. “One of the most iconic concert and live shows venues in the USA becomes now the home of Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience in Philadelphia.”