As we approached the festival from the east at 2pm, we could see there was a problem. A barely moving line of people snaked half a mile from the will call entrance, across the bridge over the river, and all the way to Cesar Chavez. People stuck in the line to pick up their wristbands had to wait hours to even get into the festival, by which point they'd missed the acts they came to see. Friday wristband holders, who had just paid for the day's entertainment they were missing and no more, were stuck as well. Five or six volunteers were at the front of the line, wielding malfunctioning iPads, trying to get the line moving. It wasn't happening.
Several hours later, watching Blood Brothers play the Black Stage, we could still see people lining up all the way across the bridge, with only two acts left that evening. It was obvious the situation was out of control, and to their credit Fun Fun Fun Fest released this statement on Friday night.
Today many of our fans experienced significant delays with the check-in process due to a significant single wave of unexpected demand.
As you know, Fun Fun Fun was displaced from its former location in 2013 and was forced to create a completely new layout and process due to the renovations at Auditorium Shores. This dynamic alone creates challenges for staff and customers alike. Since 2006, FFF has operated under a strict no refund policy, which remains today.
Knowing this, we found it unacceptable to allow our loyal fans to miss their favorite artists, simply because of a delayed check-in process. So, we decided to take drastic measures to address this, by allowing the remainder of the line into Fridays nights show regardless of the check-in process. We did this in consultation and with the blessing of City of Austin officials. Ultimately, our primary concern is always safety in the line, safety in the fest, and safety on the way home - so we needed to coordinate with all parties to make sure this was a smart and effective solution.
We would like to personally apologize for any delays that our fans experienced today, and would like to thank everyone for their patience as we adjust to this new location for FFF.
Next steps: Queue (The FFF ticketing partner) will keep the box office open after the festival tonight to assist any customers still needing credentials for the weekend and for Nites.
The box office will open tomorrow at 8am for early check in, customer service, and questions and answers.
Now that we have identified the problem and allocated resources to fix it, we are confident that tomorrow's lines will be back to normal.
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Enough? Probably not. To judge from the outrage on the Facebook page of FFFFest, this is a dispute that will rumble for a while yet. We'll let you know how it looks tomorrow.