Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Letter to Langerado 2011

This a letter I posted on the Langerado Facebook page today.  It is in response to someone named Amanda. She was worried about pulling the trigger on this festival.  I decided to take the opportunity to vent some frustrations I had with the event thus far.

I will preface this by saying I have held my tongue, and even defended this festival from Day 1. I was also lucky enough to snag my ticket at the $75 ticket threshold - which then jumped to double the price at $150. I am the only person that I am aware of in my South Florida music scene that accomplished this (that is not to say it didn't happen, but I like to think I know a good amount of people at this point). I also did this before any details about a lineup, schedule or logistics were announced.

After some of the details about the event trickled out I sent an email to the production company with a few inquiries. Here is what I asked:
1. Thievery Corporation: Is this a live band or DJ set?
2. Is the lineup that was posted the entire/full lineup for the weekend? There is no language indicating more to come and I believe your original announcement indicated there would be around 30 bands. I just want confirmation on this.
3. Your FAQ includes language that says: "Ticket user bears all risks, including cancellation of the event and of inclement weather." If the festival is canceled for reasons other than weather does that mean there will not be refunds? This is a large concern for those that lived through the experience of that last Langerado being canceled.
4. How will the ticket reentry system work if you are employing wrist bands?
5. How many stages will there be?
6. Do you have a date for when the festival schedule will be announced?
7. Will there be late night shows off-site that are associated with Langerado?
I received no response, so I resent it. Still nothing. Then I posted it [to the Langerado Facebook page] and got answers to questions 1 and 2 only. So, they acknowledged my questions and choose not to respond to the rest. I later resent the email for the third time and heard nothing since then. Most of these concerns were professional because I wanted to feature the festival, and I like to offer up details that aren't clearly stated by the event's basic internet presence. The outcry and anxiety after the lineup was announced seemed rational. It was sub-par by any standards, but especially at that pricing threshold. I could justify it given the pricing tier I snagged my tickets, but $150 for 30 bands of this booking level is not an easy sell.

At that time there was also no mention of camping being organized by the festival, only through limited (100 spot) camping at Markham Park. Hardly enough for this venue given the turn out that would normally be expected. Then the schedule was released, and the only advantage to the limited amount of acts  I saw would be that each band would get extended sets. This of course is not the case, and we are left with one of the worst scheduled festivals I have ever witnessed.

The camping thrown in 6 weeks before the festival adds insult to injury because it shows they could have done it before but were not organized/motivated enough to make it happen. In my mind, a festival of this magnitude should bank on the fact that people are coming from out of town. I don't think many people can scramble to make a weekend out of it with such little time now that there is camping - and its not like there are hotels around there that they could have booked (more expenses on top of the overpriced ticket) and canceled now that camping is offered.

So, say in theory Langerado is being geared towards locals this year? Cool...well, given the dense Jewish population in this region and the conflicting Jewish holiday, the only conclusion I can come to is that they did not do their homework, or worse, they don't care.

This culminates into a myriad of problems. Given the history of Langerado being canceled the last time, and now this string of events, it appears that there is a good chance the festival could be canceled this time around. Its a vicious cycle as that is the reason many in my circle do not want to pull the trigger in the first place (See question 3. above for even more reasons why). Almost all the feedback on here is negative - some of it is just trolling, but a good amount is justified criticism that goes unanswered. Today Amanda, someone I don't even know, made the exact same point - and that prompted me to write this because it verifies that I am not the only one seeing this for what it is.

I am writing this because I think that now more than ever music, and the audience, deserves better. I don't care who you are, $150 + expenses is a respectable amount of money to shell out to see art. Not being one to only point out the problems, I have a few solutions to offer: 1. Bump the ticket price down and credit the people that already dropped $150. 2. Rework the schedule to offer more extended set times and less of a worry about overlap (you can do this, much bigger festivals like Summer Camp did it as recently as this year). 3. Start giving more details as soon as possible. 4. Answer pressing questions, including mine, as soon as possible, including specifics on camping arrangements and late night shows. 5. Do something special for the fans that have taken this roller-coaster ride with you the past few months (ie. A pre-party on Friday night, special sets/events during the festival, etc.)

I think this could be the year that we all look back on as the rebuilding year after a trying history for Langerado, but it is up to you to make up for the bad taste you have put in people's mouths so far.

Please excuse any typos or spelling errors, I wrote this in one string of thought and do not want to expend any more energy on this.


jd said...

have you ever considered producing a festival in South Florida? We provided all the labor and logistics on-site for Langerado in it's best years, and I can tell you it was on it's way to being something exceptional. They had some issues which were not easily overcome and then crashed and burned with the bayfront park location. That was a mess. These days ticket sales are down, and anyone considering the production of a festival has to be willing to to take their money, throw it in a wheelbarrow, douse it with gasoline, and light it on fire. If they make money, great, but don't hold your breath. I'd like to try a fan designed, pre-paid festival. Use an interactive web site to have fans choose the # of days, dates, schedule/lineup, pricing based on fan feedback, and only do the show if the # of tickets is sold by X date. Kind of a "the more they get involved in the process, the better the show will be kind of thing... Do it with an interactive website that tracks the most suggested artists, best dates, best acts, optimal pricing, etc... Feel free to contact me if you are interested in pursuing something like what I've described.

deLySiDdaniels said...

So as it turns out you were right on the money with this one. I have been calling shenanigans on C3 since they first announced this event, I have a blog post about it myself actually. Who knew they would actually have to cancel this, well I guess we both kind of did.

deLySiDdaniels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deLySiDdaniels said...

Here is my post from back in March calling this company out on its bull$h!t