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I am writing a pair of queries for a site with an events listing function. Events can be either on a single date or over several (multi-day). All events have a value in custom field event_date. Multi-day events also have an end_date value.

Single day events should be in the 'upcoming events' list (first query) until the end of their event_date, and multi-day events should stay until the end of their end_date. Once they are no longer in the upcoming list they should move to the 'past events' list (new query, same page).

The upcoming query works perfectly. Multi-day events stay in the list between their event_date and end_date values:

$now     = date('Ymd', strtotime("now"));
$future  = date('Ymd', strtotime("+24 months"));
$uc_args = array(
    'post_type'  => 'event',
    'meta_query' => array(
        'relation' => 'OR',
        // check post has end_date and it is between $now and $future
        array(
            'key'     => 'end_date',
            'compare' => 'BETWEEN',
            'type'    => 'NUMERIC',
            'value'   => array($now, $future),
        ),
        // if no end date check event_date is between $now and $future
        array(
            'key'     => 'event_date',
            'compare' => 'BETWEEN',
            'type'    => 'NUMERIC',
            'value'   => array($now, $future),
        ),
    ),
    'meta_key' => 'event_date',
    'orderby'  => 'meta_value',
    'order'    => 'ASC',
    'nopaging' => true,
);

The past query is constructed exactly the same way, but multi-day events are appearing once their event–date has passed, even if they have an end_date value:

$past    = date('Ymd', strtotime("-999 months"));
$now     = date('Ymd', strtotime("now"));
$uc_args = array(
    'post_type'  => 'event',
    'meta_query' => array(
        'relation'  => 'OR',
        // check post has end_date and it is between $past and $now
        array(
            'key'     => 'end_date',
            'compare' => 'BETWEEN',
            'type'    => 'NUMERIC',
            'value'   => array($past, $now),
        ),
        // if no end date check event_date is between $past and $now
        array(
            'key'     => 'event_date',
            'compare' => 'BETWEEN',
            'type'    => 'NUMERIC',
            'value'   => array($past, $now),
        ),
    ),
    'meta_key'       => 'event_date',
    'orderby'        => 'meta_value',
    'order'          => 'DESC',
    'nopaging'       => false,
    'posts_per_page' => '8',
);

I can see how an OR relation would include all posts which meet either criteria, but it doesn't do this in the first query. So far as I know there is no ELSE relation but that is the idea I am aiming for here.

Why does this work for upcoming events but not for past events?

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I think this might be part of the problem in your past query (the second one)

        array(
            'key'     => 'end_date',
            'compare' => 'BETWEEN',
            'type'    => 'NUMERIC',
            'value'   => array($past, $now),
        ),

You're using BETWEEN but I think something like < would be what you want. You don't want to show events that have ended between $past and $now, right? You want to show events that have ended in general.

        array(
            'key'     => 'end_date',
            'compare' => '<',
            'type'    => 'NUMERIC',
            'value'   => $now,
        ),
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  • You're not wrong, but in fact I've tried this both ways (the BETWEEN relation is left from an attempt to try all I could think of, and was a < just on $now previously. I'll probably put it back in the final version). The behaviour is unchanged by this though, and your version still shows past events that have started but not finished. – mtm Jun 4 at 7:47

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