SACRAMENTO — Dozens of attendees of Saturday's Blazin' Saddles festival at Cal Expo are sounding off on disorganization and paying for tickets that included amenities that weren't actually offered the day of.
Laura Kacmarik is one of those festival-goers who spent $115 for a Tier One open bar VIP ticket for Saturday's event.
"They included VIP open bar, VIP stage access, VIP elevated viewing access, backstage viewing, VIP bathrooms," Kacmarik said. "When we got there, it was a mess. They had a tent set up with a plastic table, no signage. That was considered their box office."
Festival goers learned of a change in venue from Elk Grove to Cal Expo ahead of the event, but during the morning of the event, attendees like Kacmarik got a message informing them that the VIP open bar would no longer be offered at the concert. In the message below, Kacmarik and others who bought the VIP open bar ticket would now be promised "backstage + access to amusement rides for free."
"But when we got there, security was like, 'We're not allowing anybody backstage or in elevated access tonight. That's just not happening,' " Kacmarik said. "They were no longer able to offer the VIP open bar, so they comped it with unlimited Ferris wheel rides? That's ridiculous."
The promoters behind the event, This916, never explained why access was limited and not as promised.
"Everything was unlabeled, people waiting in line for hours. As far as I know, there was no water refill station and you weren't allowed to bring in water," Kacmarik said. "Personally, I work in EMS, I've worked these big festivals. There was not a medical tent on site."
She also cited cannabis vendors set up across the festival as marijuana was allowed to be purchased but not consumed on the property because Kamarik was told the correct permits were not secured in time for the event. In addition, she said the festival was an "all-age event" and the wristbands to determine age limits were also not clearly marked.
She ended up not staying for the show because the disorganization and lack of access to the amenities she'd paid for were so frustrating. Dozens of others on social media were commenting on the festival's Instagram and This916 social media asking about compensation and refunds. Now, Kacmarik is calling on others to do their research on festival promoters before buying tickets in hopes other people don't end up in a similar position.
"They promised things that weren't available. Almost 90% of the stuff they promised were not there," Kacmarik said. "I think This916 needs to take accountability and be honest with people that they weren't able to meet their own expectations."
We reached out to This916 about the allegations, but CBS13 has not heard back at this time. Other social media users are banding together to go to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to submit a formal complaint. We reached out to the BBB for advice on what to do in this situation.
"We encourage anyone who's had a negative interaction to file a complaint at bbb.org so an official investigation can begin," the bureau said.
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