Attendees of a music festival in Avila Beach over the weekend left angry and upset, saying that most of the advertised activities — including a 200-foot water slide, zip-lining, laser tag, bounce castles, rock climbing and a human-sized chess board — were not offered.
“It was a complete disappointment,” said San Luis Obispo resident Staci Schultz, who paid $250 for a VIP pass to Saturday’s inaugural Forever Never Land festival and $35 for a shuttle. “I got there at 1 p.m. and (it) was pretty much empty. The only activity they had was beach volleyball.”
Schultz later created a Facebook page, called “FNL Scam Avila Beach 2014,” to connect people and seek a refund.
Forever Never Land founder and CEO Valerie Wang released a statement Monday, saying she was “deeply embarrassed” for letting down festival-goers.
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“I wanted to create a wonderful festival for everyone to enjoy and I regret to admit that I have failed to successfully pull this off,” Wang wrote. “I assure you all I had not intentionally pulled any performance or activity without absolutely having to based on last minute financial binds.
“With so many unforeseen financial woes, my hands were tied and I had to make some tough decisions on what to cut down on,” she added. “I know so many people are angry and rightfully so, I know an apology is not the only answer, but it is what I am going to start with. I apologize to have let so many festival-goers, music lovers, the city of San Luis Obispo and everyone else down.”
Information on any possible refunds was not immediately available.
Wang’s LinkedIn profile describes her as a “start-up business entrepreneur with a passion for live events, event production and experiential marketing.”
She founded the Forever Never Land event as a music and fun festival for adults ages 21 and older. A limited liability corporation for the festival was founded in May 2013; the Avila Beach festival was the inaugural event.
“We apologize for our delay in posting a response to all inquiries as we were desperately trying to find the best resolution,” it reads. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we regretfully have canceled A-Trak, Robbie Rivera, Viceroy, Goldroom, Party Favor, Josh Vietti, and Marcus Schossow performances. We understand the frustrations and are doing our best to rectify the situation.”
The Forever Never Land festival was advertised as a concert with numerous activities and four interactive “lands,” including neon-lit Future Land, Castle Land, Pirate’s Cove, and foodie-focused International World, at the Avila Beach Golf Resort on Saturday and Sunday.
San Luis Obispo County supervisors in June denied a request from organizers for a temporary commercial outdoor entertainment license that could have allowed up to 10,000 people to attend. Instead, the event was limited to 3,000 people per day.
Tickets ranged from $75 to $275 daily to $125 to $500 for a weekend pass. On Sunday, the festival posted a note on its Facebook page offering half-priced general admission tickets at the gate and $50 all-day passes.
Schultz’s VIP ticket provided an open bar and a place to sit all day, but other attendees who had purchased regularly priced tickets had to pay for food and drinks.
The VIP pass “was supposed to give me access to all of the ‘activities’ but there were no activities for me to participate in,” Schultz wrote in an email. “It only had two stages, four food vendor booths and no varieties of beer/wine/food. The entire radius was on maybe two acres which you could see the entire thing in about two min (minutes).”