Holders of tickets for the first Pearl River Music Festival have been offered a full refund after organisers postponed the show, admitting they were unable to attract the international acts they had hoped for. Organisers have offered a scaled-down alternative, but it is still unclear when and where this event will be held as problems persist over contractual obligations and noise pollution fears at the original Kai Tak airport venue. The move comes after the Sunday Morning Post revealed at the weekend that the three-day music festival - which was hoped to bring in top acts from around the globe and attract some 60,000 fans - fell apart just days before it was due to take place, from Friday to Sunday this week. Organisers halted ticket sales late last week, although the event was known to have been in trouble for months. Tobias Forster, a director of organisers Pearl River Festival Ltd, yesterday declined to say how many tickets had been sold, insisting it was an 'internal company matter'. 'We are very sorry. The past week has been very difficult,' he added. But he said all ticket holders for the original show would be fully refunded through Hong Kong Ticketing (formerly Ticketek Hong Kong). Billed as 'the first open-air music event to be held in the Pearl River Delta region', it had tempted rock fans with an advertised line-up of international artists including Echo and the Bunnymen, Doves, Ash, and former Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder. Fans paid $890 - nearly $300 more than the cheapest tickets for next month's Rolling Stones concert - for a three-day pass or $490 for a one-day ticket. Mr Forster said the company's decision to scale down the event rather than cancel it altogether reflected 'the strong will of many individuals to create a successful annual music festival'. He insisted the festival would go ahead as 'a first-class regional event'. According to the Environmental Protection Department, a dispute over noise levels began as far back as August when officials ruled that the music festival - as originally proposed - would breach noise-control regulations. Environmental officials said that after a series of meetings between organisers and the department, it was agreed to scale down the event. 'The organisers fully understood and accepted the implication of their proposal - [that] the sound level at the venue might not be sufficient to satisfy the audience,' a department spokesman said. But organisers halted ticket sales only eight days after this decision. As a result, Pearl River Festival Ltd faces a compensation claim from high-profile sponsors United Colours of Benetton for breach of contract.