The Great American Wait: No food, no music… and no wine (Video)

Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri have some re-tooling to do before they can roll this thing out.

Great American Food and Wine Fest
In Review

The Great American Food & Music Fest

Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California
0 out of 5 stars (a first for us, we hate to do it)
www.greatamericanfoodandmusicfest.com
Review by

Great American Food and Wine Fest

In great anticipation, I arrived at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View today to attend the first ever, Great American Food and Music Fest hosted by Food Network’s star, Bobby Flay.

The concept was an irresistible one, put together some of the great iconic foods of American culture all in one location, get some music pumping and some wine pouring. It is a proposition that is hard to refuse for any foodie and closet Food Network fan.

For one day, we can all live the life of Rachel Ray eat for under $40 a day sampling from an illustrious menu with a starting price per ticket of $35.

• From New York, Katz’s Deli Pastrami Sandwiches ($7-12)
• From Los Angeles, Pink’s Chili Dogs ($6)
• From Cincinnatti, Graeter’s Ice Cream (Oprah’s Favorite) ($6)
• From Buffalo, Anchor Bar Chicken Wings ($5-10)
• From New York and Beverly Hills, Barney Greengrass Bagel, Smoked Salmon, and Cream Cheese ($5-10)
• From Texas, Southside Market Barbecue Brisket and Sausage ($12)
• From Ann Arbor, Michigan Zingerman’s Deli ($5-7)
• From Philadelphia, Tony Luke’s Cheese steaks and Roast Pork sandwiches ($8)
• Straight Outta Brooklyn, Junior’s Cheesecake ($5)
• June Taylor Koeze Peanut Butter with June Taylor’s Stawberry Conserve on Artisan Bread ($6)

However, like the American Dream, sometimes reality sets in. Clint and I arrived at around 1:30 pm and already the cars had packed the parking lots. Frankly, I was not expecting so many people to show up, but whoever was responsible for marketing did a fantastic job of driving droves of hungry Bay Area foodies to this event.

Loni Searches for Food

We then had to stand in Will Call and customer services for another hour. Mid-way through this adventure, we noticed the “Upgrade” line which was reserved for those that wanted to upgrade to a $95 pass in order to sample some of the wines had turned into a “Refund” line. This line was by far the most rambunctious with people irritated with waiting in line, exacerbated by growling stomachs.

People were leaving the event because:
a) the electronic scanning system had crashed and no one’s Food Fast Pass bracelet, which allowed people to add money to the bracelet and “swipe” at food stations) could be scanned
b) none of the vendors could accept cash or credit cards when the Food Fast Pass system broke down.
c) they either didn’t have enough vendors or had way too many attendees – so the lines were sometimes three hours in length
d) all of the above

If you guessed (d) you are correct. To be fair, the crashing of the computer system was no one’s fault. However, where was the contingency plan? A backup system or a low-tech alternative?

I found out the computer systems crashed about an hour after the start of the event. By far, the shortest lines were for the, “New York and Beverly Hills, Barney Greengrass Bagel, Smoked Salmon, and Cream Cheese” and June Taylor’s “Koeze Peanut Butter with June Taylor’s Stawberry Conserve on Artisan Bread”. I am not sure whether this is a testimony to their efficiency or lack of popularity.

Music was no where to be found until you weaved your way to the actual amphitheatre stage area. By far, this was the most enjoyable place in the event. It was peaceful and pleasant and you could actually imagine if you were able to grin and bear it in the enormously long lines, pay and arm and a leg for the food (the $35 ticket only got me a small bagel with cream cheese, no drinks were included), you could have a wonderful picnic listening to music.

As for the wine, I searched all over and could not find it. I asked a couple of the staff members and none of them knew either.

The first ever Great American Food and Music Fest brings new meaning to Sun Tzu quote, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” In this case, it was a slow route to food and when I finally got some, I still felt defeated.

Clint says:

We always go to these events wanting to enjoy them. But this one was a disaster.

Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri have some re-tooling to do before they can roll this thing out, as they are planning, across multiple cities across the country.

I’m not sure what they’re thinking.

Make people park 2 miles away, across a dirt lot (and charge $15). Serve some bagels, ribs, and cheesecake. Make people wait for hours. Force them to buy books to get autographs. Then watch the money roll in.

Hey, btw- where’s the wine tent and Gary Vaynerchuck?

I remember an absolutely incredible live concert I saw at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View many years back. The band was Depeche Mode. Pure electricity was in the air. 10,000 people soaked in a riveting show by a band at the top of their game under the California sky. Today, the place looked like the morning after; Hamburger America. Screaming, irate customers full of overblown rage. Long, long lines of human masses awaiting their serving of pork. It was the worst of times.

One positive: the people we met, and the positive spirits they kept, even while shuffling from one line to the next. Hang on a sec, they’re paying for this?

Bottom line: I like the concept. I hope they re-tool and next year is better… it can’t get much worse.

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  • Mrs. King

    Obviously, the idea of this festival was amazing…..but it was very poorly organized!!! Perhaps, if tried again, a $10 admission fee or less and each person on their own to buy their food. Several booths for each food item instead of one booth. Pink’s Hotdogs could have used about 5 booths. Juniors Cheesecakes and Charles Chocolates need to learn to pack enough food to get through at least 2 hours of a festival…shame on both of you!!! Could Graeter’s Ice Cream have been scooped at several locations instead of handing out prepacked paper cups?
    More selections in food would have been nice too…. not a fruit or veggie in site!!! No place for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Invite Paula Deen to spice it up a bit….leave time to actually watch the chefs in action… no time today with the long lines and one free tix for food with the fear of the booth running out!!! I think $35 for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, even on artisan bread or a bagel with cream cheese and even if the lox are incredible…is just too much.
    The interest was there…. perhaps it could be done again with a lot more thought and preparation!!!!

  • AMC

    Feel happy you did not buy the "All Access" tickets that we did. We walked out after 2 hours. I am working today to get my refund of over 1000 dollars. What a HORRIBLE event.

  • J Lin

    We actually managed to get some food, but that's because the five of us split up and each stood in line for over 2 hours.<br />
    <br />
    We were in the wings/pastrami line/mob for FIVE hours (1:30-6:30). They ran out of pastrami for an hour TWICE, but the line moved so slowly that by the time we got up to the front, they actually had it again. Each order took 5-10 minutes to fulfill, so if there were only 5 people in front of you, you had to wait another HOUR.<br />
    <br />
    Great idea, but needs major improvements in execution. I'm going to sit out the next one to see how well they do.<br />
    <br />
    By the way, for those seeking refunds, I read that you should call Shoreline at (650) 967-3000. And you can read more complaints at<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/06/the-great-american-food-and-music-fest-is-today-june-13.html#comments&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/06/the-great-amer…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/06/the-great-amer…</a></a>

  • Melodie Kennedy

    Hi Everyone…<br />
    <br />
    here's what I sent to Gene Burns this morning — KGO underwrote some of the cost of this debacle, and promoted it.<br />
    <br />
    Hello Mr. Burns!<br />
    <br />
    Let me start off by saying that my husband and I enjoy your program very much; in fact, we were listing to you as we drove down 101 from Menlo Park to the &quot;American Music and Food Fest&quot;, and we were wondering why you mentioned the &quot;arrival of guests&quot; when it had been open for an hour…..<br />
    <br />
    We soon found out why. We'd planned to leave at 1PM, giving us plenty of time to get there, park, walk to the entrance to see Anne Burrell at the 1:45P demo. We ended up standing in a very long line, buffered by wind and dust as car parkers directed cars past us. Everyone in line has been to concerts at Shoreline and none of us had ever seen such long lines. The Car Park people who work all these events hadn't either — they'd been radioing trying to find out what was going on – and no one answered them.<br />
    <br />
    People in line started comparing notes &quot;we have tickets already – are we standing in the wrong line?&quot; No..because people without tickets were told to walk all the way to the entrance, buy tickets and then walk all the way back and stand in the back of the line! Unbelieveable! You had moms pushing strollers, elderly people…<br />
    <br />
    When we FINALLY get to the entrance the Ticket Takers tell us the Wrist Band people (who I believe underwrote the event along with KGO?) system completely broke down and they handed us an &quot;Admit One&quot; type movie ticket coupon for our &quot;free meal&quot;. <br />
    <br />
    That meant was that the VIP people who got in before the system crashed had wristbands. Then, they abandon the wristbands, and have to go to cash or credit card. <br />
    New VIP come in and they have to pay for food &amp; drinks now. I have NO idea how they will sort THAT mess out but for people who paid $275 – $526…..yikes. <br />
    <br />
    We walked in and it was mass confusion and wall-to-wall people. We weren't given maps to find where anything was located and major areas of interest were not signed properly. Going to the Main Stage and asking questions of a Live Nation employee, he told me that they planned on a turnout of 5,000; 10,000 were now IN Shoreline with another 5,000 waiting to GET in. <br />
    <br />
    Not good, and I immediately knew they were going to run out of food. Those 3,000 lbs of brisket and 1,500 lbs of sausage you were talking about SOUNDED like a lot when we heard you, but not once you were there in that mob! Also, as you can imagine, irritated people standing in line, they were practically THROWING the food at people, and there wasn't a lot of &quot;quality control&quot; either. <br />
    <br />
    We missed the first 15 min of Anne Burrell – not that it mattered much because that stage was near the Southside Market BBQ line, which stretched as far as the eye could see (and further), with about 3 feet of space between the line and the crowd watching the cooking demo; with the noise of conversation, people on their cel phones, a family eating food they brought in (yes, really — there were so many people, there was no bag search, no security check of any kind done), Anne pretty much got drowned out.<br />
    <br />
    We stood in line for TWO HOURS for a Katz's sandwich. We had a young guy behind us who kept urging his poor Grandfather to go sit down and rest. Then they ran out of food – at 2PM. Word was it would take another 30 min. for them to get more. Hey, that's ok., we figure it will take at least that long for us to GET there!<br />
    <br />
    While in line we heard from people who had friends stationed in other lines; cel phone reports:<br />
    <br />
    &quot;45 min. for cheesecake&quot; – I said &quot;what? they're not making it here are they?&quot; No, just slicing it. They couldn't keep up.<br />
    <br />
    &quot;Tony Luke's ran out of Cheesesteaks at 1PM, told people it would be another 45 minutes&quot;. Later on we heard that they were charging some of the VIP's as well. <br />
    <br />
    <br />
    We never got our sandwich; I went to the Information booth to see about a refund. I wasn't alone. Very very nice apologetic Shoreline employee visibly brightened when I told her that I'd bought my tickets online @ Live Nation. She told me to go out front to go to the box office, and with a weary smile said &quot;but I have to warn you – there's a line&quot;. I tried calling my husband to come meet me, but because of all the crowd noise he couldn't hear his cel, so I had to do the &quot;salmon swimming upstream&quot; thing and fight the crowd surging towards me. <br />
    <br />
    We got out, stood in one of 4 lines, and in the only piece of luck of the day, got pulled out by a manager who took our tickets into an office, came out after having scanned them, told us it would be refunded to our credit card and scribbled something on the paper which we were to show to get our $15 parking fee as well. <br />
    <br />
    Meanwhile, people are leaving and yelling to the people coming IN &quot;DON'T GO IN, DON'T GO IN – IT'S BAD&quot; – never seen anything like it in my life. A couple stopped and asked us what was going on and I just pointed to the Refund Line; then a woman ran after us and said <br />
    <br />
    &quot;I couldn't help overhear you — what exactly is going on? I've got my 81 yr. old mother with me who just wanted a Katz's sandwich.&quot; <br />
    <br />
    I told her not to put her mother through that, just get her refund and go find a nice deli somewhere for mom.<br />
    <br />
    We walked back up and had to go right past the Box Office in order to get our refund — by now there were about 500 people in the Refund area! Unbelieveable.<br />
    <br />
    This was the most unorganized mess I've ever seen. It's obvious that the promotors got greedy and didn't limit the ticket sales. One woman said she noted that it did say sales were limited, but obviously they weren't (probably just a marketing ploy so patrons think &quot;oh boy, I better order now before they're all gone&quot;). The people walking ahead of us on the way back didn't even go in — they saw all the people standing for refunds and just got theirs. One of the men told us he'd been online in the morning and they were still selling tickets — in fact, &quot;last minute, DISCOUNTED&quot; tickets and so many people were buying that it crashed their system.<br />
    <br />
    I know KGO was a sponsor; I'm in buisness as well, and I know how bad it is when things go wrong to have your name associated with something like this. <br />
    <br />
    I wanted to write to you to give you a first hand account of what a &quot;regular&quot; person went through, not some glossed-over report. I'll be interested to see if you address this on next week's Dining Around; I'm sure a great many of the people there were KGO listeners.<br />
    <br />
    Thank you.<br />
    <br />
    Sincerely,

  • Andrew

    I understand that some people are upset and the event may have been oversold but people need to remember this was the first time for this event. There will be bugs to work out. I actually had a great time. I arrived there about 12:30 and stayed until 9:00. Yes, the lines were long at the beginning but there was plenty of nice people in line to chat with. Yes, the wristband system crashed but the staff quickly had all the vendors start accepting cash and refunded money to those who put money on their wristbands. They also passed out tickets for the free meals that were included with your ticket price as well since the fast passes did not work. There was music on the deck stage all day long and on the main stage in between the food performers. The wine tent was huge and behind the Southside Market stand so I do not know how you missed it. Anyway, yes there were some kinks in the system but all-in-all, a good day. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for me!

  • AMC

    Feel happy you did not buy the “All Access” tickets that we did. We walked out after 2 hours. I am working today to get my refund of over 1000 dollars. What a HORRIBLE event.

    • I heard about the “All Access” pass for $531/ticket. That is terrible, can’t imagine having paid that much for an event and get “No Access”. Were you able to eat/get to anything? Did you find the wine area.

      For those that didn’t attend, here is the rundown of the pricing for different ticket options.

      Festival Ticket ($40) – Get one person through the gates and one plate of food from any one purveyor for free. Note: Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich ($6) or Bagel and Lox ($6) shown above are considered one place of food.

      Festival Fun Pack ($91) – Same as above but for 4 people. Great value for families or double dates…if you could actually get to the food.

      Grand Wine Tasting Ticket ($95) – Same as Festival Ticket but also gets you admission into the grand tasting tent which could not have been so grand because I couldn’t find it and the staff didn’t know where it was.

      Serious Eats Tickets ($231) – Same as Grand Wine Tasting + All-you-can-eat from any of the purveyor, plus reserved seating beginning from row 6 of the event. When I was there, the music area was empty as people were still in lines trying to get food.

      All Access Ticket ($531) – Everything off the Serious Eats list plus you are suppose to get reserved seating in the first 5 rows of the event, exclusive meet and greet with Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, LIttle Feat, VIP wine tasting and VIP parking.

  • I heard about the “All Access” pass for $531/ticket. That is terrible, can’t imagine having paid that much for an event and get “No Access”. Were you able to eat/get to anything? Did you find the wine area.

    For those that didn’t attend, here is the rundown of the pricing for different ticket options.

    Festival Ticket ($40) – Get one person through the gates and one plate of food from any one purveyor for free. Note: Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich ($6) or Bagel and Lox ($6) shown above are considered one place of food.

    Festival Fun Pack ($91) – Same as above but for 4 people. Great value for families or double dates…if you could actually get to the food.

    Grand Wine Tasting Ticket ($95) – Same as Festival Ticket but also gets you admission into the grand tasting tent which could not have been so grand because I couldn’t find it and the staff didn’t know where it was.

    Serious Eats Tickets ($231) – Same as Grand Wine Tasting + All-you-can-eat from any of the purveyor, plus reserved seating beginning from row 6 of the event. When I was there, the music area was empty as people were still in lines trying to get food.

    All Access Ticket ($531) – Everything off the Serious Eats list plus you are suppose to get reserved seating in the first 5 rows of the event, exclusive meet and greet with Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, LIttle Feat, VIP wine tasting and VIP parking.

  • Charles

    You must have been at a different festival than me or perhaps you work for the promoter Andrew because while saying &quot;the lines were long at the beginning&quot; is very accurate – you imply that at some point later than the beginning the lines got shorter – which is simply not true. Unless you mean after 6pm, at which point I left.<br />
    <br />
    This wasn't being put on by a group of charitable amateurs, these were professionals charging a hefty fee to park, charging for tickets, charging inflated prices for drinks – and they failed miserably.<br />
    <br />
    Saying that &quot;people need to remember this was the first time for this event&quot; is providing an excuse that need not be put forth. <br />
    <br />
    The rating at the top of the article (0 out of 5 stars (a first for SSC, we hate to do it)) was spot on.

  • J Lin

    We actually managed to get some food, but that’s because the five of us split up and each stood in line for over 2 hours.

    We were in the wings/pastrami line/mob for FIVE hours (1:30-6:30). They ran out of pastrami for an hour TWICE, but the line moved so slowly that by the time we got up to the front, they actually had it again. Each order took 5-10 minutes to fulfill, so if there were only 5 people in front of you, you had to wait another HOUR.

    Great idea, but needs major improvements in execution. I’m going to sit out the next one to see how well they do.

    By the way, for those seeking refunds, I read that you should call Shoreline at (650) 967-3000. And you can read more complaints at

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/06/the-great-american-food-and-music-fest-is-today-june-13.html#comments

  • J Lin

    We actually managed to get some food, but that’s because the five of us split up and each stood in line for over 2 hours.

    We were in the wings/pastrami line/mob for FIVE hours (1:30-6:30). They ran out of pastrami for an hour TWICE, but the line moved so slowly that by the time we got up to the front, they actually had it again. Each order took 5-10 minutes to fulfill, so if there were only 5 people in front of you, you had to wait another HOUR.

    Great idea, but needs major improvements in execution. I’m going to sit out the next one to see how well they do.

    By the way, for those seeking refunds, I read that you should call Shoreline at (650) 967-3000. And you can read more complaints at

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/06/the-great-american-food-and-music-fest-is-today-june-13.html#comments

  • Andy from Santa Clar

    Dude, what festival were you at?<br />
    This was the biggest disaster I have ever attended. We stood in line for a hotdog for 2 hours and never got anywhere close to the beginning of the line!!! <br />
    We couldn't even walk around, it was a utter chaos!!!!<br />
    I do have to say that the people that we commiserated with were some of the nicest people we have ever met, sharing what little food that they happened to come across.<br />
    Great idea but alot of work has to be done before I ever attened again!!!

  • Melodie Kennedy

    Hi Everyone…

    here’s what I sent to Gene Burns this morning — KGO underwrote some of the cost of this debacle, and promoted it.

    Hello Mr. Burns!

    Let me start off by saying that my husband and I enjoy your program very much; in fact, we were listing to you as we drove down 101 from Menlo Park to the “American Music and Food Fest”, and we were wondering why you mentioned the “arrival of guests” when it had been open for an hour…..

    We soon found out why. We’d planned to leave at 1PM, giving us plenty of time to get there, park, walk to the entrance to see Anne Burrell at the 1:45P demo. We ended up standing in a very long line, buffered by wind and dust as car parkers directed cars past us. Everyone in line has been to concerts at Shoreline and none of us had ever seen such long lines. The Car Park people who work all these events hadn’t either — they’d been radioing trying to find out what was going on – and no one answered them.

    People in line started comparing notes “we have tickets already – are we standing in the wrong line?” No..because people without tickets were told to walk all the way to the entrance, buy tickets and then walk all the way back and stand in the back of the line! Unbelieveable! You had moms pushing strollers, elderly people…

    When we FINALLY get to the entrance the Ticket Takers tell us the Wrist Band people (who I believe underwrote the event along with KGO?) system completely broke down and they handed us an “Admit One” type movie ticket coupon for our “free meal”.

    That meant was that the VIP people who got in before the system crashed had wristbands. Then, they abandon the wristbands, and have to go to cash or credit card.
    New VIP come in and they have to pay for food & drinks now. I have NO idea how they will sort THAT mess out but for people who paid $275 – $526…..yikes.

    We walked in and it was mass confusion and wall-to-wall people. We weren’t given maps to find where anything was located and major areas of interest were not signed properly. Going to the Main Stage and asking questions of a Live Nation employee, he told me that they planned on a turnout of 5,000; 10,000 were now IN Shoreline with another 5,000 waiting to GET in.

    Not good, and I immediately knew they were going to run out of food. Those 3,000 lbs of brisket and 1,500 lbs of sausage you were talking about SOUNDED like a lot when we heard you, but not once you were there in that mob! Also, as you can imagine, irritated people standing in line, they were practically THROWING the food at people, and there wasn’t a lot of “quality control” either.

    We missed the first 15 min of Anne Burrell – not that it mattered much because that stage was near the Southside Market BBQ line, which stretched as far as the eye could see (and further), with about 3 feet of space between the line and the crowd watching the cooking demo; with the noise of conversation, people on their cel phones, a family eating food they brought in (yes, really — there were so many people, there was no bag search, no security check of any kind done), Anne pretty much got drowned out.

    We stood in line for TWO HOURS for a Katz’s sandwich. We had a young guy behind us who kept urging his poor Grandfather to go sit down and rest. Then they ran out of food – at 2PM. Word was it would take another 30 min. for them to get more. Hey, that’s ok., we figure it will take at least that long for us to GET there!

    While in line we heard from people who had friends stationed in other lines; cel phone reports:

    “45 min. for cheesecake” – I said “what? they’re not making it here are they?” No, just slicing it. They couldn’t keep up.

    “Tony Luke’s ran out of Cheesesteaks at 1PM, told people it would be another 45 minutes”. Later on we heard that they were charging some of the VIP’s as well.

    We never got our sandwich; I went to the Information booth to see about a refund. I wasn’t alone. Very very nice apologetic Shoreline employee visibly brightened when I told her that I’d bought my tickets online @ Live Nation. She told me to go out front to go to the box office, and with a weary smile said “but I have to warn you – there’s a line”. I tried calling my husband to come meet me, but because of all the crowd noise he couldn’t hear his cel, so I had to do the “salmon swimming upstream” thing and fight the crowd surging towards me.

    We got out, stood in one of 4 lines, and in the only piece of luck of the day, got pulled out by a manager who took our tickets into an office, came out after having scanned them, told us it would be refunded to our credit card and scribbled something on the paper which we were to show to get our $15 parking fee as well.

    Meanwhile, people are leaving and yelling to the people coming IN “DON’T GO IN, DON’T GO IN – IT’S BAD” – never seen anything like it in my life. A couple stopped and asked us what was going on and I just pointed to the Refund Line; then a woman ran after us and said

    “I couldn’t help overhear you — what exactly is going on? I’ve got my 81 yr. old mother with me who just wanted a Katz’s sandwich.”

    I told her not to put her mother through that, just get her refund and go find a nice deli somewhere for mom.

    We walked back up and had to go right past the Box Office in order to get our refund — by now there were about 500 people in the Refund area! Unbelieveable.

    This was the most unorganized mess I’ve ever seen. It’s obvious that the promotors got greedy and didn’t limit the ticket sales. One woman said she noted that it did say sales were limited, but obviously they weren’t (probably just a marketing ploy so patrons think “oh boy, I better order now before they’re all gone”). The people walking ahead of us on the way back didn’t even go in — they saw all the people standing for refunds and just got theirs. One of the men told us he’d been online in the morning and they were still selling tickets — in fact, “last minute, DISCOUNTED” tickets and so many people were buying that it crashed their system.

    I know KGO was a sponsor; I’m in buisness as well, and I know how bad it is when things go wrong to have your name associated with something like this.

    I wanted to write to you to give you a first hand account of what a “regular” person went through, not some glossed-over report. I’ll be interested to see if you address this on next week’s Dining Around; I’m sure a great many of the people there were KGO listeners.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

  • Melodie Kennedy

    Hi Everyone…

    here’s what I sent to Gene Burns this morning — KGO underwrote some of the cost of this debacle, and promoted it.

    Hello Mr. Burns!

    Let me start off by saying that my husband and I enjoy your program very much; in fact, we were listing to you as we drove down 101 from Menlo Park to the “American Music and Food Fest”, and we were wondering why you mentioned the “arrival of guests” when it had been open for an hour…..

    We soon found out why. We’d planned to leave at 1PM, giving us plenty of time to get there, park, walk to the entrance to see Anne Burrell at the 1:45P demo. We ended up standing in a very long line, buffered by wind and dust as car parkers directed cars past us. Everyone in line has been to concerts at Shoreline and none of us had ever seen such long lines. The Car Park people who work all these events hadn’t either — they’d been radioing trying to find out what was going on – and no one answered them.

    People in line started comparing notes “we have tickets already – are we standing in the wrong line?” No..because people without tickets were told to walk all the way to the entrance, buy tickets and then walk all the way back and stand in the back of the line! Unbelieveable! You had moms pushing strollers, elderly people…

    When we FINALLY get to the entrance the Ticket Takers tell us the Wrist Band people (who I believe underwrote the event along with KGO?) system completely broke down and they handed us an “Admit One” type movie ticket coupon for our “free meal”.

    That meant was that the VIP people who got in before the system crashed had wristbands. Then, they abandon the wristbands, and have to go to cash or credit card.
    New VIP come in and they have to pay for food & drinks now. I have NO idea how they will sort THAT mess out but for people who paid $275 – $526…..yikes.

    We walked in and it was mass confusion and wall-to-wall people. We weren’t given maps to find where anything was located and major areas of interest were not signed properly. Going to the Main Stage and asking questions of a Live Nation employee, he told me that they planned on a turnout of 5,000; 10,000 were now IN Shoreline with another 5,000 waiting to GET in.

    Not good, and I immediately knew they were going to run out of food. Those 3,000 lbs of brisket and 1,500 lbs of sausage you were talking about SOUNDED like a lot when we heard you, but not once you were there in that mob! Also, as you can imagine, irritated people standing in line, they were practically THROWING the food at people, and there wasn’t a lot of “quality control” either.

    We missed the first 15 min of Anne Burrell – not that it mattered much because that stage was near the Southside Market BBQ line, which stretched as far as the eye could see (and further), with about 3 feet of space between the line and the crowd watching the cooking demo; with the noise of conversation, people on their cel phones, a family eating food they brought in (yes, really — there were so many people, there was no bag search, no security check of any kind done), Anne pretty much got drowned out.

    We stood in line for TWO HOURS for a Katz’s sandwich. We had a young guy behind us who kept urging his poor Grandfather to go sit down and rest. Then they ran out of food – at 2PM. Word was it would take another 30 min. for them to get more. Hey, that’s ok., we figure it will take at least that long for us to GET there!

    While in line we heard from people who had friends stationed in other lines; cel phone reports:

    “45 min. for cheesecake” – I said “what? they’re not making it here are they?” No, just slicing it. They couldn’t keep up.

    “Tony Luke’s ran out of Cheesesteaks at 1PM, told people it would be another 45 minutes”. Later on we heard that they were charging some of the VIP’s as well.

    We never got our sandwich; I went to the Information booth to see about a refund. I wasn’t alone. Very very nice apologetic Shoreline employee visibly brightened when I told her that I’d bought my tickets online @ Live Nation. She told me to go out front to go to the box office, and with a weary smile said “but I have to warn you – there’s a line”. I tried calling my husband to come meet me, but because of all the crowd noise he couldn’t hear his cel, so I had to do the “salmon swimming upstream” thing and fight the crowd surging towards me.

    We got out, stood in one of 4 lines, and in the only piece of luck of the day, got pulled out by a manager who took our tickets into an office, came out after having scanned them, told us it would be refunded to our credit card and scribbled something on the paper which we were to show to get our $15 parking fee as well.

    Meanwhile, people are leaving and yelling to the people coming IN “DON’T GO IN, DON’T GO IN – IT’S BAD” – never seen anything like it in my life. A couple stopped and asked us what was going on and I just pointed to the Refund Line; then a woman ran after us and said

    “I couldn’t help overhear you — what exactly is going on? I’ve got my 81 yr. old mother with me who just wanted a Katz’s sandwich.”

    I told her not to put her mother through that, just get her refund and go find a nice deli somewhere for mom.

    We walked back up and had to go right past the Box Office in order to get our refund — by now there were about 500 people in the Refund area! Unbelieveable.

    This was the most unorganized mess I’ve ever seen. It’s obvious that the promotors got greedy and didn’t limit the ticket sales. One woman said she noted that it did say sales were limited, but obviously they weren’t (probably just a marketing ploy so patrons think “oh boy, I better order now before they’re all gone”). The people walking ahead of us on the way back didn’t even go in — they saw all the people standing for refunds and just got theirs. One of the men told us he’d been online in the morning and they were still selling tickets — in fact, “last minute, DISCOUNTED” tickets and so many people were buying that it crashed their system.

    I know KGO was a sponsor; I’m in buisness as well, and I know how bad it is when things go wrong to have your name associated with something like this.

    I wanted to write to you to give you a first hand account of what a “regular” person went through, not some glossed-over report. I’ll be interested to see if you address this on next week’s Dining Around; I’m sure a great many of the people there were KGO listeners.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

  • Melodie Kennedy

    Hi Everyone…

    here’s what I sent to Gene Burns this morning — KGO underwrote some of the cost of this debacle, and promoted it.

    Hello Mr. Burns!

    Let me start off by saying that my husband and I enjoy your program very much; in fact, we were listing to you as we drove down 101 from Menlo Park to the “American Music and Food Fest”, and we were wondering why you mentioned the “arrival of guests” when it had been open for an hour…..

    We soon found out why. We’d planned to leave at 1PM, giving us plenty of time to get there, park, walk to the entrance to see Anne Burrell at the 1:45P demo. We ended up standing in a very long line, buffered by wind and dust as car parkers directed cars past us. Everyone in line has been to concerts at Shoreline and none of us had ever seen such long lines. The Car Park people who work all these events hadn’t either — they’d been radioing trying to find out what was going on – and no one answered them.

    People in line started comparing notes “we have tickets already – are we standing in the wrong line?” No..because people without tickets were told to walk all the way to the entrance, buy tickets and then walk all the way back and stand in the back of the line! Unbelieveable! You had moms pushing strollers, elderly people…

    When we FINALLY get to the entrance the Ticket Takers tell us the Wrist Band people (who I believe underwrote the event along with KGO?) system completely broke down and they handed us an “Admit One” type movie ticket coupon for our “free meal”.

    That meant was that the VIP people who got in before the system crashed had wristbands. Then, they abandon the wristbands, and have to go to cash or credit card.
    New VIP come in and they have to pay for food & drinks now. I have NO idea how they will sort THAT mess out but for people who paid $275 – $526…..yikes.

    We walked in and it was mass confusion and wall-to-wall people. We weren’t given maps to find where anything was located and major areas of interest were not signed properly. Going to the Main Stage and asking questions of a Live Nation employee, he told me that they planned on a turnout of 5,000; 10,000 were now IN Shoreline with another 5,000 waiting to GET in.

    Not good, and I immediately knew they were going to run out of food. Those 3,000 lbs of brisket and 1,500 lbs of sausage you were talking about SOUNDED like a lot when we heard you, but not once you were there in that mob! Also, as you can imagine, irritated people standing in line, they were practically THROWING the food at people, and there wasn’t a lot of “quality control” either.

    We missed the first 15 min of Anne Burrell – not that it mattered much because that stage was near the Southside Market BBQ line, which stretched as far as the eye could see (and further), with about 3 feet of space between the line and the crowd watching the cooking demo; with the noise of conversation, people on their cel phones, a family eating food they brought in (yes, really — there were so many people, there was no bag search, no security check of any kind done), Anne pretty much got drowned out.

    We stood in line for TWO HOURS for a Katz’s sandwich. We had a young guy behind us who kept urging his poor Grandfather to go sit down and rest. Then they ran out of food – at 2PM. Word was it would take another 30 min. for them to get more. Hey, that’s ok., we figure it will take at least that long for us to GET there!

    While in line we heard from people who had friends stationed in other lines; cel phone reports:

    “45 min. for cheesecake” – I said “what? they’re not making it here are they?” No, just slicing it. They couldn’t keep up.

    “Tony Luke’s ran out of Cheesesteaks at 1PM, told people it would be another 45 minutes”. Later on we heard that they were charging some of the VIP’s as well.

    We never got our sandwich; I went to the Information booth to see about a refund. I wasn’t alone. Very very nice apologetic Shoreline employee visibly brightened when I told her that I’d bought my tickets online @ Live Nation. She told me to go out front to go to the box office, and with a weary smile said “but I have to warn you – there’s a line”. I tried calling my husband to come meet me, but because of all the crowd noise he couldn’t hear his cel, so I had to do the “salmon swimming upstream” thing and fight the crowd surging towards me.

    We got out, stood in one of 4 lines, and in the only piece of luck of the day, got pulled out by a manager who took our tickets into an office, came out after having scanned them, told us it would be refunded to our credit card and scribbled something on the paper which we were to show to get our $15 parking fee as well.

    Meanwhile, people are leaving and yelling to the people coming IN “DON’T GO IN, DON’T GO IN – IT’S BAD” – never seen anything like it in my life. A couple stopped and asked us what was going on and I just pointed to the Refund Line; then a woman ran after us and said

    “I couldn’t help overhear you — what exactly is going on? I’ve got my 81 yr. old mother with me who just wanted a Katz’s sandwich.”

    I told her not to put her mother through that, just get her refund and go find a nice deli somewhere for mom.

    We walked back up and had to go right past the Box Office in order to get our refund — by now there were about 500 people in the Refund area! Unbelieveable.

    This was the most unorganized mess I’ve ever seen. It’s obvious that the promotors got greedy and didn’t limit the ticket sales. One woman said she noted that it did say sales were limited, but obviously they weren’t (probably just a marketing ploy so patrons think “oh boy, I better order now before they’re all gone”). The people walking ahead of us on the way back didn’t even go in — they saw all the people standing for refunds and just got theirs. One of the men told us he’d been online in the morning and they were still selling tickets — in fact, “last minute, DISCOUNTED” tickets and so many people were buying that it crashed their system.

    I know KGO was a sponsor; I’m in buisness as well, and I know how bad it is when things go wrong to have your name associated with something like this.

    I wanted to write to you to give you a first hand account of what a “regular” person went through, not some glossed-over report. I’ll be interested to see if you address this on next week’s Dining Around; I’m sure a great many of the people there were KGO listeners.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

  • Andrew

    No, I do not work for the promoter and, yes, I suppose things did get better as time went on. There was a mad crush at the beginning and a lot of confusion. But once I got past that, I had a decent time. <br />
    <br />
    Obviously, you haven't been to a concert at Shoreline before. All the prices were the same for parking, food, and beverages. Guess I'm just used to that. <br />
    <br />
    Can things be done better? Yes. One thing I think is a different venue. A fairgrounds like Alameda County's would have been better. Shoreline is not conducive to something like this. <br />
    <br />
    Anyway, I hope they work out the kinks and try again,

  • Andrew

    See my comment above…a better venue probably would have alleviated the mess.

  • Andrew

    I understand that some people are upset and the event may have been oversold but people need to remember this was the first time for this event. There will be bugs to work out. I actually had a great time. I arrived there about 12:30 and stayed until 9:00. Yes, the lines were long at the beginning but there was plenty of nice people in line to chat with. Yes, the wristband system crashed but the staff quickly had all the vendors start accepting cash and refunded money to those who put money on their wristbands. They also passed out tickets for the free meals that were included with your ticket price as well since the fast passes did not work. There was music on the deck stage all day long and on the main stage in between the food performers. The wine tent was huge and behind the Southside Market stand so I do not know how you missed it. Anyway, yes there were some kinks in the system but all-in-all, a good day. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for me!

    • Charles

      You must have been at a different festival than me or perhaps you work for the promoter Andrew because while saying “the lines were long at the beginning” is very accurate – you imply that at some point later than the beginning the lines got shorter – which is simply not true. Unless you mean after 6pm, at which point I left.

      This wasn’t being put on by a group of charitable amateurs, these were professionals charging a hefty fee to park, charging for tickets, charging inflated prices for drinks – and they failed miserably.

      Saying that “people need to remember this was the first time for this event” is providing an excuse that need not be put forth.

      The rating at the top of the article (0 out of 5 stars (a first for SSC, we hate to do it)) was spot on.

      • Norma Patricia

        I have no Idea what your talking about!!! And yes I have been to plenty of concerts, festivals, etc. at Shoreline. It absolutely did not get better as time went on- no way. What happened on this day should not be defended, It was horrible, and it got worse as time went on, Those who were involved should publicly express their apologies to the many of us who lost our hard earned money on such a poorly executed attempt of a festival. You say things could have been done better? Oh Please, do not insult those of us that were THERE ALSO, absolutely EVERYTHING needed to be done better.

      • Norma Patricia

        I have no Idea what your talking about!!! And yes I have been to plenty of concerts, festivals, etc. at Shoreline. It absolutely did not get better as time went on- no way. What happened on this day should not be defended, It was horrible, and it got worse as time went on, Those who were involved should publicly express their apologies to the many of us who lost our hard earned money on such a poorly executed attempt of a festival. You say things could have been done better? Oh Please, do not insult those of us that were THERE ALSO, absolutely EVERYTHING needed to be done better.

    • Charles

      You must have been at a different festival than me or perhaps you work for the promoter Andrew because while saying “the lines were long at the beginning” is very accurate – you imply that at some point later than the beginning the lines got shorter – which is simply not true. Unless you mean after 6pm, at which point I left.

      This wasn’t being put on by a group of charitable amateurs, these were professionals charging a hefty fee to park, charging for tickets, charging inflated prices for drinks – and they failed miserably.

      Saying that “people need to remember this was the first time for this event” is providing an excuse that need not be put forth.

      The rating at the top of the article (0 out of 5 stars (a first for SSC, we hate to do it)) was spot on.

  • Andrew

    I understand that some people are upset and the event may have been oversold but people need to remember this was the first time for this event. There will be bugs to work out. I actually had a great time. I arrived there about 12:30 and stayed until 9:00. Yes, the lines were long at the beginning but there was plenty of nice people in line to chat with. Yes, the wristband system crashed but the staff quickly had all the vendors start accepting cash and refunded money to those who put money on their wristbands. They also passed out tickets for the free meals that were included with your ticket price as well since the fast passes did not work. There was music on the deck stage all day long and on the main stage in between the food performers. The wine tent was huge and behind the Southside Market stand so I do not know how you missed it. Anyway, yes there were some kinks in the system but all-in-all, a good day. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for me!

  • Andrew

    I understand that some people are upset and the event may have been oversold but people need to remember this was the first time for this event. There will be bugs to work out. I actually had a great time. I arrived there about 12:30 and stayed until 9:00. Yes, the lines were long at the beginning but there was plenty of nice people in line to chat with. Yes, the wristband system crashed but the staff quickly had all the vendors start accepting cash and refunded money to those who put money on their wristbands. They also passed out tickets for the free meals that were included with your ticket price as well since the fast passes did not work. There was music on the deck stage all day long and on the main stage in between the food performers. The wine tent was huge and behind the Southside Market stand so I do not know how you missed it. Anyway, yes there were some kinks in the system but all-in-all, a good day. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for me!

    • Charles

      You must have been at a different festival than me or perhaps you work for the promoter Andrew because while saying “the lines were long at the beginning” is very accurate – you imply that at some point later than the beginning the lines got shorter – which is simply not true. Unless you mean after 6pm, at which point I left.

      This wasn’t being put on by a group of charitable amateurs, these were professionals charging a hefty fee to park, charging for tickets, charging inflated prices for drinks – and they failed miserably.

      Saying that “people need to remember this was the first time for this event” is providing an excuse that need not be put forth.

      The rating at the top of the article (0 out of 5 stars (a first for SSC, we hate to do it)) was spot on.

      • Andrew

        No, I do not work for the promoter and, yes, I suppose things did get better as time went on. There was a mad crush at the beginning and a lot of confusion. But once I got past that, I had a decent time.

        Obviously, you haven’t been to a concert at Shoreline before. All the prices were the same for parking, food, and beverages. Guess I’m just used to that.

        Can things be done better? Yes. One thing I think is a different venue. A fairgrounds like Alameda County’s would have been better. Shoreline is not conducive to something like this.

        Anyway, I hope they work out the kinks and try again,

        • Norma Patricia

          I have no Idea what your talking about!!! And yes I have been to plenty of concerts, festivals, etc. at Shoreline. It absolutely did not get better as time went on- no way. What happened on this day should not be defended, It was horrible, and it got worse as time went on, Those who were involved should publicly express their apologies to the many of us who lost our hard earned money on such a poorly executed attempt of a festival. You say things could have been done better? Oh Please, do not insult those of us that were THERE ALSO, absolutely EVERYTHING needed to be done better.

    • Andy from Santa Clara

      Dude, what festival were you at?
      This was the biggest disaster I have ever attended. We stood in line for a hotdog for 2 hours and never got anywhere close to the beginning of the line!!!
      We couldn’t even walk around, it was a utter chaos!!!!
      I do have to say that the people that we commiserated with were some of the nicest people we have ever met, sharing what little food that they happened to come across.
      Great idea but alot of work has to be done before I ever attened again!!!

      • Andrew

        See my comment above…a better venue probably would have alleviated the mess.

  • Norma Patricia

    I have no Idea what your talking about!!! And yes I have been to plenty of concerts, festivals, etc. at Shoreline. It absolutely did not get better as time went on- no way. What happened on this day should not be defended, It was horrible, and it got worse as time went on, Those who were involved should publicly express their apologies to the many of us who lost our hard earned money on such a poorly executed attempt of a festival. You say things could have been done better? Oh Please, do not insult those of us that were THERE ALSO, absolutely EVERYTHING needed to be done better.

  • mars

    andrew, you must have attended a different event that the 1000s of the rest of us. we were in line for hours and got NOTHING, i repeat NOTHING, except a totally wasted saturday. a complete EPIC FAIL of en event. we couldn't take it anymore (we were starving, tired, and at the end of our rope with an 18-month old child) and left at 5 pm after getting our refund.<br />
    <br />
    btw, at the point at which people were just lining up for refunds, why didn't the event bosses come out and APOLOGIZE and at least hand out what little food was left? they did nothing. what a total failure of an event.

  • teamku

    As others have posted, this was a complete bust. The hour long line, just to get in from the parking lot with my prepaid ticket should have been a clue. I immediately went to the Katz line, which snaked all around, and there I stayed for over 3 HOURS. It was like they were playing some cruel game with us. Just as I was about to give up and admit defeat, I would see one person make his way through the mob with a plate of food held high above his head. This happened over and over, about every 15 minutes, until I couldn't take it any more and left broken and defeated.

  • mars

    andrew, you must have attended a different event that the 1000s of the rest of us. we were in line for hours and got NOTHING, i repeat NOTHING, except a totally wasted saturday. a complete EPIC FAIL of en event. we couldn’t take it anymore (we were starving, tired, and at the end of our rope with an 18-month old child) and left at 5 pm after getting our refund.

    btw, at the point at which people were just lining up for refunds, why didn’t the event bosses come out and APOLOGIZE and at least hand out what little food was left? they did nothing. what a total failure of an event.

  • teamku

    As others have posted, this was a complete bust. The hour long line, just to get in from the parking lot with my prepaid ticket should have been a clue. I immediately went to the Katz line, which snaked all around, and there I stayed for over 3 HOURS. It was like they were playing some cruel game with us. Just as I was about to give up and admit defeat, I would see one person make his way through the mob with a plate of food held high above his head. This happened over and over, about every 15 minutes, until I couldn’t take it any more and left broken and defeated.

  • TDom

    Got to the Festival at 11:15, (coming from Ventura County we started the night before), we were told the parking lot attendents were not ready, please make a u-turn and come back in twenty. Was given the WRONG wristband right from the get, a 35.00 dollar band and not the 89.00 band that we paid for. Could not get into the wine tasting tent because of this error and had to go back to the entrance for a new band. the whole wine tasting event was not advertised right, I had my husband upgrade to wine tasting so I could use his tasting tickets, and then when I got in there, it was a free for all requiring no tasting tickets at all!

    I put 60.00 on my wrist band and before you know it the vendors said I had used my limit!
    When requesting a refund I had 39.00 coming back to me that I let them know I would have spent there had they let me.

    Big Bad VooDoo Daddy and Guy Fieri were fantastic.

  • Un-freakin’ believable!!!! I didn’t go but sounds like an unmitigated disaster! I feel so bad for all those that went to this…ironically, I went to a different food festival on the same day, Taste of the Nation, Los Angeles…and feel like I would be rubbing it in if I say how wonderful it was…. but for future food festivals…definitely do Taste of the Nation instead… for those curious check out what I wrote on it..

    http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/2009/06/taste-of-nation-los-angeles-6142009.html