LetsGetFr.ee promises a star-studded lineup to nurture and for people of color in one of the country’s most diverse venues.
The inexplicably named festival was supposed to begin with an opening ceremony at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens on August 19. Over the next two days, notable artists such as Missy Elliott, Jhene Aiko, Ozuna, El Alfa and Anderson appeared. Uchis is set on stage in New York City. The festival calls itself a «purpose-driven music experience» and a «conscious carnival» – the brainchild of Afropunk founder Matthew Morgan, partner Jocelyn Cooper and creative agency Anomaly—Tried boosting Its socially conscious credentials by promoting the mission of “bridging the stock gap” in the entertainment industry and achieving “a diverse workforce across all levels of the industry by 2030.” It’s unclear how a weekend of wristbands and portable toilets was supposed to do that, as is the sudden cancellation of the festival that has now left hundreds of ticket holders scrambling for refunds that aren’t likely to arrive until mid-September.
On Friday, organizers scrapped the entire slate of shows less than a month before the show was due to be held. that they Blame it on inflation, of all things, along with a string of other obscure setbacks, including «new safety regulations recently put in place will force us to drastically change your experience to a smaller, watered-down, and non-genuine version». (Festival organizers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation did not respond to questions about any recent changes to safety regulations.)
The unique Norton doesn’t buy their excuse.
«Their reasons just didn’t make sense,» she told The Daily Beast. «Honestly, it didn’t make any sense.»
The 23-year-old maid and aspiring fashion designer learned about the show from her boyfriend, who saw a post about it on Instagram. The duo was supposed to go to Bonnaroo last September, but this festival was too Suddenly canceled after the camps were flooded. They were drawn to LetsGetFr.ee by the stacked lineup, the seemingly quieter «indie fest» atmosphere, and the low price of around $79 per general pass.
«We didn’t want our first music festival to be crazy with raves and music,» she says.
They snatched their tickets back in March. Norton was particularly excited about . Paak and Uchis. They booked train tickets all the way from Tampa, Florida, along with a five-day stay on Airbnb in Brooklyn for themselves and their friends. The stage was set for an unforgettable weekend until Friday, when her boyfriend alerted her to the festival’s Instagram post to announce the cancellation. The comments were off, so angry customers, including Norton, flooded comment sections of other posts to demand their refunds and criticize regulators for their unwillingness.
The complete failure made comparisons with Notorious Fire Festival– Sad, open-faced cheese sandwiches.
“We were literally going to sit on a train all day to go to New York for this festival and they canceled it,” Norton says. “We have already put in the refunds. This was one situation and it really did. The way they handled it was very unprofessional.”
Looking back, Norton and others who were planning a fun weekend in New York for their summer vacation say there are signs that LetsGetFr.ee was in trouble. For example, it is very difficult to launch a new festival, and some say that their favorite artists were barely promoting the event on social media. Moreover, a Head scratching ticket class system It proved to be frustrating for customers.
“If you look at their Instagram page, they try to explain the bullshit from it because it was really confusing,” said Sean Cruz, an occupational therapist from Queens who was excited to see his favorite artists in his backyard.
LetsGetFr.ee had a lineup that matched his own taste in music, which leaned towards jazz and new soul. He’s also fond of Flushing Meadows Corona Park as a venue.
«It means a lot to me,» he says. «It’s a place I used to go to a lot as a kid.»
Initially, Cruz says the festival advertised general admission tickets along with «party passes» that promised access to specific shows. Then came the face change, with organizers announcing that the GA rate now includes everything. Tickets for some attendees, including Cruz and Norton, have been upgraded to VIP out of nowhere.
«In retrospect, it looks really mite. I am not a fan now.«
“For me, I was like, ‘That’s kind of a hit,'» says Cruz, who specifically wanted GA tickets so he could watch the show with the audience. «I’m not really a fringe person — to see an artist from an angle while they perform.»
He never got his money back for special passes.
“Looking in the past, it looks really bad,” Cruz said.
It’s not clear what actually happened behind the scenes, but what he is Obviously, a festival built with so much ill intent from the Leap may not survive. Regulators say refunds will be completed by September 15. Refund requests are due to be sent to ticket sellers DICE or TIXR by August 31, although the festival has promised to honor this year’s passes at next year’s festival. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to convince people to return to an event that died when they first arrived.
«A lot of people think it’s a scam, frankly,» Norton says. «Personally, I feel they didn’t sell enough tickets and quickly fell back.»