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Monday, June 15, 2009

Organizer Apologizes for Saturday's Nightmarish Great American Food and Music Fest

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge Long lines and disorganization left festival attendees frustrated. - SHAUNANDJENNY/FLICKR
  • shaunandjenny/Flickr
  • Long lines and disorganization left festival attendees frustrated.
Calling it "the first pancake," an organizer of Saturday's Great American Food and Music Fest published a lengthy apology Sunday for the event, which featured hours-long food lines and angry attendees demanding refunds. Ed Levine posted the mea culpa at his blog, Serious Eats, for the debacle at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.

"This has been my dream for nearly two decades," Levine wrote. "I still believe in that dream. And the image I had in mind wasn't what took place yesterday." Festival attendees reportedly endured waits of up to four hours for vendors including Katz's Deli from New York and Tony Luke's Cheeseteaks from Philadelphia. "Frankly, people were so excited about the fest that they all showed up early, which doesn't normally happen at an all-day festival," Levine explained in his post. "That compounded the logistical issues. Our high-tech cashless wristband system, designed to be easy to use for serious eaters and purveyors alike, failed at the get-go." Read Levine's entire apology (and comments from many pissed-off attendees) at Serious Eats.

One commenter railed that the Katz's Deli booth had run out of food, at least temporarily, by 2:30 p.m, just a few hours into the day-long festival. The line for refunds reportedly stretched nearly as long as food lines.

"If you could find it in your hearts to think of this as our first pancake, that would be great. You clearly showed there's a great hunger, a huge appetite for a festival like this. Now it's up to us to bring it to you in the right way. Stay tuned."

Writing Saturday night on the San Jose Merc's A+E Interactive blog, arts and entertainment features writer John Orr described spending "almost three hours at Shoreline, walking around, trying to find navigable lines, and finally gave up."

SF Weekly was cosponsor of the event. Stay tuned for more from Saturday's disaster from SFoodie's Tamara Palmer.

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