When you pay in advance for tickets to a food festival, you expect an event that serves large quantities of said food, right? Yet people who bought tickets to pizza and burger festivals held in Brooklyn on Saturday found tiny and cold slices of pizza, warm drinks, and a long wait before they could even get to that subpar food.
The festival, Gothamist recounts, was promoted as “a day-long celebration of the dough, cheese, tasty sauces and delicious toppings” of pizza.
That’s not what festival-goers found after they waited for over an hour for admission, even if they had $75 “VIP” tickets. One VIP guest told Gothamist that he got seven slivers of cold cheese pizza and cold onion pizza that were equal to maybe one normal slice. That’s better than no pizza at all, but not worth the $150 that he paid for two tickets.
“3pm start and they haven’t even open[ed] yet,” one festival-goer posted on the event’s Facebook page at 3:38 P.M. “Vendors aren’t set up, people lined up around the corner for an hour. Poorly run event.”
Worse, the organizers also sold tickets to a “burger festival” on the same site at the same time. Yet people there for burgers said that they had a lengthy wait… and weren’t allowed to pick up a few slivers of pizza in the interim.
A co-founder of the venue, an outdoor event space called Hangry Garden, told Gothamist that he hadn’t worked with the festival organizers before, but that the event seemed legit.
“We’d never worked with these guys before but we saw the response they got on Facebook, which was tremendous, 30,000 interested people. We didn’t think this was going to be a subpar event,” he told the site. Then the organizers said they wouldn’t be able to pay the full fee, and other things didn’t seem right as the event date approached.
Hangry Garden made a Facebook post denying any involvement in the disaster that was about to happen.
There were some other things that didn’t add up on the tickets, as well. For example, food festivals like this usually name the vendors on the site or on the ticket purchase site, since that benefits the festival and raises the profile of the pizzeria. This festival didn’t.
“The Fyre Festival of pizza”
While this isn’t the same as the 100% fake food festivals that we’ve warned readers about in the past since there was some food served, attendees say it definitely wasn’t as advertised.
Guests made inevitable comparisons to the Fyre Festival, an event that was supposed to be a high-end music festival experience with luxury accommodations and gourmet food, but ended with guests who had paid hundreds or thousands of dollars in disaster relief tents picking at slices of cheese on bread.
Disappointed festival-goers are now organizing on a Facebook group for pizza and burger justice. There’s talk of a lawsuit, but one ticket vendor has been simply refunding customers.
Gothamist speculates that the festival organizer may have been behind a similarly terrible African food festival last year.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.