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 The Five Horizons Foundation
Thank you from The Five Horizons Foundation to all of the awesome Pearl Jam fans for helping to raise over $5,000 on this tour at 5H pre parties. As a community, we done some great things already and can't wait to do it again on the next tour.

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9/30/12

DeLuna Fest 2012 VIP Debacle

**If you came to this page directly, please consider reading the full article as well which details all of the GREAT stuff that happened this weekend!**



I was going to include this section with my full article on DeLuna Fest but it just didn't seem like the right thing to do.  Unfortunately, the situation that occurred with the VIP section prior to the Pearl Jam performance is a major black eye on what was otherwise a truly great festival.  I broke this section out because I’m going to concentrate all of my negativity here in this article, rather than taint my general recap of what was a terrific overall weekend.

So let’s talk about it!

Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and Zac Brown.  This concert had a major draw for me, despite the fact that it was happening 800 miles from home.  Add to that the fact that the hotels were incredibly expensive, flights were a pain, and the VIP tickets were priced so high that I expected to see kings and queens roaming the area.  I was “lucky” in that I made my decision to purchase VIP tickets the day it was announced.  The “early bird” price was $450 per ticket.  Unfortunately, I wasn't quite early enough as those were sold out in about an hour.  The next price point was $650 and I needed two, ouch.  Add the $150 service charge on top of that (since it’s very expensive to email me a .pdf of my ticket) and my total cost to walk in the door was $1,450.  To add insult to injury, tack on another $70 for the trolley which I used one time because it was so frustrating that I opted to pay for cabs after that ($20 per one way trip all weekend).

Why would I pay such a crazy amount for these tickets?  Here’s what was promised:

Front of Stage Viewing Area at Main Stage
Front of Stage Viewing Area at Second Stage
Exclusive access to the DeLuna Fest VIP Beach Club Lounge
Access to premium Food and Cocktail choices not available on regular festival grounds
Daily Free Liquor Samplings from Festival Partners
Private, Air Conditioned Bathrooms
Spa Treatment from Pensacola Massage

There was only one line item on this promotion that made me willing to spend my hard earned money. “Front of Stage Viewing Area at Main Stage.”  All the rest of it could have gone away and I’d have still paid.  The idea of being front of stage, without having to camp out there for hours, on the beach, when Pearl Jam walked out was too tempting to pass up.  I took a look at the pictures on the DeLuna Fest website to get a sense of the area.  The pictures showed the entire front of the stage blocked off about 25 feet deep and it was about a third full.  My thought was, even in the worst case scenario, I’d be 25 feet back from the rail in front of the world’s greatest rock band.  My credit card was mad, but I was happy.



A few weeks prior to the event, DeLuna Fest released a strange video showing the layout of the Festival.  It was pretty early considering they didn't even have all of their stages announced yet but I was no less excited to watch.  To my disappointment, I saw that they intended to put the VIP barricade up only half way across the stage, not the full length as they had last year.  This was an immediate disappointment because I had already been dreaming of getting showered with Mike McCready guitar picks and the VIP section was clearly going to be on Stone’s side, leaving Mike’s open for GA.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and respect Stone Gossard and would love the chance to meet him.  But if I’m going to be up close for a show, put me right between Mike and Ed.  I tried not to let that video upset me, I still had a great opportunity to get up close.



The event got closer and a few more details trickled out about the “VIP Lounge” and special drinks, massage tables, etc.  That’s all nice, but all I cared about was getting up close for Pearl Jam!


The Travel Package

There was also a travel package offered through Pearl Jam.  This was very tempting for me as well.  Here’s that list of promises:

Three (3) nights at the Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach
Two (2) GA or VIP tickets to DeLuna Fest (see VIP ticket offeringbelow)
Exclusive main stage viewing area during Pearl Jam's set
Two (2) limited edition Pearl Jam DeLuna Fest posters
Pearl Jam DeLuna Fest Survival Kit

Obviously the hook here is “Exclusive main stage viewing area during Pearl Jam’s set.  The nerd in me went straight to the internet to see where those people would be, since obviously it would be somewhere other than VIP’s half stage access.  I found no further information but the DeLuna Fest photo gallery from the year before which showed a bunch of people up in the rafters on the side of the stage who appeared to be fans.  Having seen seating like this for other festivals I assumed that would be the logical place for the “Super VIPs.”  I’m fortunate enough to be in contact with several of the people who purchased those tickets and they had independently come to the same conclusion.  I thought that would be a really cool vantage point but I was still happy with my “Normal VIPs.”

The 2011 Galery has suddenly disapeared but take a look at the
upper side stage during PJ's performance. Empty. There are two sides.

My Sign

I was so excited about the idea of getting up close that I decided to make a sign to try to promote the Wishlist Party that I had organized for the next day.  In case you don’t know, Pearl Jam fans have a tradition of putting on fundraiser parties around the band’s shows to raise money for causes we think the band would be proud to support.  My ultimate goal was for Ed to take the sign on stage and mention the party!  Half of that goal was realized!  Go back to my article about the show to read more. (coming soon.).




Day of

I arrived at the concert with my wife and was absolutely full of energy.  We shared the trolley with our new friend, Malcolm from Halifax, Canada.  Through Twitter we realized we were at the same hotel, so we met up and went down together.  He decided to upgrade his ticket to VIP at the last minute.  When we got to the line to pick up our tickets, I saw the new VIP price. $950, wow.

After talking to the manager at Crabs We Got Em about the Wishlist Party and getting some signs put out, we headed over to the VIP area to check it out.

I saw my new friend Craig walking away from the front stage area with a strange look on his face.  He came over to me and said, “I just got some disturbing news.  Apparently, right before Pearl Jam plays, they’re going to clear out the VIP section, let in the 150 people they sold the travel package to, and then let us file in behind them.”  My immediate and un-abbreviated response was, “WTF?!”  I asked Craig how he learned this since there was no posting anywhere, nothing online, no email, no sign, etc.  He said he talked to one of the security people.  I walked down to the area and tried to count 150 people, this was not going to go well.  Add to that the fact that the stage was cut in half and only about the first 30 feet from center was actually in front of the band, the rest was to the side of speakers, banners, and then a chain link fence, I was starting to get frustrated.



Being an eternal optimist I figured, hey, at least now I don’t have to feel like I need to camp out on the rail all day and I can just go enjoy the other bands.  I’ll get as close as I can, have a blast, and I’m sure I’ll be able to pass my Wishlist sign up to the front rail.  That got me to thinking though.  There were definitely people camping out on the rail right now, at 2:30pm for PJ’s performance at 9:30pm.  Why wasn’t the festival staff telling them that this was going to happen?  I asked a few of the volunteers and none of them seemed to have a clue about what was actually going to happen, but they had all clearly been informed that something was going to happen.  I talked to a few people camping out on the rail about it and they unanimously said I was full of shit.  I prayed they’d be right. They earned those spots...  They weren't right.

Guided by Voices took the stage.  They were the last band before Pearl Jam so it was time to try to get a good spot.  Luckily, we were able to get to a pretty great place, about five people deep and sort of in the middle of the section.  I was happy as can be (despite Guided by Voices being absolutely awful but that’s for another post).  I was there and situated with my wife, Craig, and his lovely wife.  We figured, if this was the worst place we could get we were going to have an amazing show and maybe we could even inch closer in the hour between sets.  The energy level was very high, as it should be before Pearl Jam takes the stage.  In typical festival fashion, we were packed in like sardines, sweating, uncomfortable, and incredibly happy.  I looked around, looked down at my watch, and said to Craig, “there’s no way in hell they’re clearing this out and filling it back up in the next hour.”  Two minutes later, they tried.

Cops!

I looked over and saw about six dudes in yellow shirts politely telling people that they needed to clear out the section.  The responses they got in return were less than polite.  Some people moved immediately, others refused, others were belligerent.  After about 5 minutes, they had made almost no progress and decided to leave.  We thought it was over, they tried and gave up.  Wrong.  Here come the Festival security guys who are bigger and scarier than the yellow shirts.  One guy in particular came down just barking like a dog telling people to get out now, clear the area immediately, even physically guiding people toward the exit.  Many more people this time obliged and left the area.  We were in the middle of the section so Craig and I decided to stand our ground for a bit and see how things played out.  We looked forward and avoided eye contact as the security guys moved through the crowd yelling.  The resistance became stronger, and so did the threats.

I heard the guard start telling people that if they didn't clear out that the Sheriff would be called in and we would be arrested.  At first, I literally laughed.  The image of County law enforcement coming into a crowded area to enforce a festival policy (not a law) that was never communicated to a bunch of people who paid a thousand dollars to be there seemed absolutely absurd.  Again, I was wrong.  I looked over and saw several members of the Sheriff’s department coming down the path into the section.  “Holy shit,” I said to Craig.  I mean, I’m all about fighting the man and whatnot…. Ya know, as long as the man doesn't have a gun and handcuffs and I don’t!  These guys came in and started threatening to take people to jail if they didn't clear the area.  Our wives were flat out shaken at this point but we were still feeling a little brave.  The line to get back in wasn't that long yet so we thought we’d hedge our bets and send the wives out to the line while Craig and I rolled the dice a little longer and stayed put.

After a few minutes, it became clear that these guys were not messing around.  We looked over and saw that our wives were actually in a pretty good position to get back in once they opened the flood gates again.  We caved in and bailed to meet the wives.  Minutes later, they brought in the “Super VIPs.”  You would have thought they were walking murders through a crowd of people waiting to watch a hanging.  Thankfully there was no physical violence but the “Normal VIP’s” made it clear they were not happy about being cleared out like this.  Based on how unorganized it was, everyone pretty much just squeezed back in right along with the “Super VIPs” which really sort of screwed them over too.  When it was all said and done, they would have been just as well off working their way into the section like the rest of us did and seeing where they wound up.  Not that it would have been right, they paid a premium for special seating for the Pearl Jam show and they got completely screwed.

So after all of the shuffle I actually wound up in a better spot than I had been prior to the yellow shirts coming in!  I kept stepping forward as gaps came open and before I knew it I was one person back from the rail.  The timing happened to work out perfectly because just as the original barking dog security guy was about to put his arm on me he checked his watch.  His exact words were, “Fuck it, we did the best we could.”  He signaled to his team and said, “we’re outta here.”  He then apologized to the people right around him saying he thought it was bullshit too but that he’s just trying to do his job.  We happily helped shove him over the rail and everyone was gone five minutes before PJ took the stage.

Settling in

As frustrating as the experience was, I was counting my lucky stars because now I was one person removed from the rail!  However, for me, the disappointment was not complete.  I knew I wouldn't be on the rail so I tried to hand my Wishlist sign forward.  I thought it would be no problem considering I only needed one person right in front of me to take it and hang it over the rail (I wasn't going to hold it over my head and block other people’s view).  I was shocked at the attitude people took towards the idea, even after seeing it was for Wishlist.  It was shoved back at me twice.  There was a seemingly nice older guy right in front of me with a woman straight out of the Desperate Housewives shows.  I asked him and his answer was, “I’ll do whatever you want me to brother!”  My thought was, OK, I’m at a Pearl Jam show after all.  He took the sign which was then immediately taken from him by his evil wife who shoved it back at me saying, “no, hold your own sign.”  Great.  She was wearing a big ass hat and refused to remove it after several people behind her asked extremely nicely if she would.  She was probably 6 feet tall, standing on the divider, which give you an extra couple inches in the sand, and wouldn't take off her sombrero.  Clearly not a true PJ fan.  Despite her hat blocking my view of Mike, and his hat (yes he wore a hat despite not wearing a shirt) blocking Stone, I stared between them and stayed happy just watching Ed rock out.  Then I looked down at my wife.

She was jammed in, sweating, still shaken, some douche on her other side putting his arm around her, and clearly not having the concert experience that is supposed to be had when seeing Pearl Jam on the beach.  After three songs, she tapped me on the shoulder and said she was going to leave the area and that I was not to follow her.  Gutted, I watched her leave the section as she repeatedly signaled that I was not to leave my spot.  Talk about being torn!  I knew the right thing to do was to follow her out but I also knew that she genuinely wanted me to stay put and enjoy the show.  My phone was at 3% after a long day and we exchanged a couple brief texts as I confirmed that she was seated and safe.  I spent the rest of the show half in, half worried about my wife.  Not the experience I expected months ago when staring at a stage wide, half empty VIP area several months ago when I dropped a mortgage payment and a half on the tickets.

After the show, the uproar online was pretty amazing.  I heard a couple of stories third hand:

  • One woman in the pit was 12 weeks pregnant and felt highly unsafe being pushed around.
  • Another woman camped out at the rail starting at 2pm, was never told about being cleared out right before the band she came to see, and then injured her foot as she was forced from the area by the Sheriff.  The festival had no supplies on hand to help her injury and she had to go back to her hotel to ice her foot.
  • Once many of the people were forced out of the VIP section, they were not allowed back in until about an hour into the PJ set.  I can confirm this one because my wife, who left, saw it firsthand.
  • Another woman camped out at the rail all day with her 13 year old daughter with the expectation that she was about to give her the greatest gift a parent could give.  Rail at a PJ show!  Cops threatened to rip the VIP wristband from her arm, revoking her access for the weekend, as they forced her out of the section with her 13 year old daughter in tears.
  • People from the GA section were just jumping over the rail in the confusion.  I can now confirm this after a couple of people on Twitter actually told me they did it themselves.
  • I can now confirm that people holding travel package passes (Super VIPs) were offered a $200 refund and a $200 credit towards their next CID show as well as premium seating for their next PJ show.  I fully agree with this move, but what about all the “Normal VIPs” who were treated like trespassers?

For me, this part of the weekend was all that mattered.  Others had more complaints about the VIP section:

  • The “VIP Lounge” they touted which was under a tent and shaded, was reserved for their law firm.  That was also not communicated to anyone who bought the package until you tried to walk up there and were embarrassed when you were turned away because you didn't have the “Double Secret VIP” wristband on.  It was also really cool of the aristocrats who were lucky enough to get those seats, mostly for free, when they “accidentally” kicked my wife and I as we leaned against the wall on night two, exhausted after the fundraiser we worked our asses off at.
  • There was no shade anywhere.
  • Cabanas were taken up by vendors most of the time.
  • No toilet paper in the fancy air conditioned bathrooms.



To me, this is a very simple example of an organization that failed miserably at setting expectations and then exacerbated the failure by not addressing it in real time.  There were so many ways CID could have done this better:
  • Leave the VIP section as the whole front of the stage.
  • Communicate to people that they are going to have to leave an hour before Pearl Jam prior to them buying the overpriced tickets.
  • Rather than clear people out, block a small section off all day long for the travel package folks.
  • Once the shit hit the fan, just slide the travel package people up into the space between VIP and the stage.  Not ideal but everyone wins and safety would not have been risked.
  • NEVER threaten people who paid a stupid amount of money to be there with arrest if they don’t leave the place they paid to be.
  • Put the vacation package people up on the sides of the stage.  There was a ton of room up there.

Conclusion

I want to temper this entire post by saying that I am not someone who has some GA/VIP complex.  I don’t think that people who buy VIP tickets are “better” than people who buy GA tickets.  However, I am someone who believes that you should get what you pay for and that businesses should do what they say.  I paid a substantial premium to have the opportunity to see Pearl Jam up close.  That opportunity was immediately cut in half just by nature of the concert set up, and was then hampered further by a policy which was never communicated prior to purchasing my tickets (or even the day of for that matter).  I’m also not mad at the travel package people.  They bought their tickets expecting some sort of premium seating for PJ and that’s what they should have gotten.  Instead they were marched into an angry crowd of people and abandoned.  They were left in an unsafe situation, in a place they didn't pay to be, and I truly sympathize with them as well..

Further, it’s really a shame that this one hour period of time is a huge black eye on what was otherwise a pretty great festival.  The stage layout was perfect, the schedule stayed tight, the beers were five bucks, and they had a few great full blown restaurants right on the property like Crabs We Got Em.  This is an amazing venue that had an amazing line up but dropped the ball in a big way on one aspect.  Despite the negative nature of this piece, I do sincerely hope that the festival is able to recover and keep bringing in big name bands in the future.

**Again, if you came straight to this page, please click here to return to my full recap of the weekend including my experience planning the Wishlist party for this show.**


Related Links

Here's the total BS statement released by the festival the day after the incident - Click here.
Facebook Page built just for complaining about DeLuna Fest VIP - Click here.
Another article from a far more reputable source than me :) - Click here.
Another blog that details a lot of the complaints in detail as well - Click here.

44 comments:

  1. You have more money than sense

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    1. I wish that we're true but would you care to elaborate?

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  2. The image of County law enforcement coming into a crowded area to enforce a festival policy (not a law) that was never communicated to a bunch of people who paid a thousand dollars to be there seemed absolutely absurd.

    - That is where you are wrong. You did not own your position, the section was leased by Deluna/Five Flags and when you were requested to clear out and you did not, you were now trespassing. THAT is a law, not a policy.

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    1. Oh please...

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    2. The "trespassing" after requested to clear out line is classic Scott Mitchell. Whether technically correct or not, it's poor management, poor business, and a poor way to treat human beings. Especially ones who are giving you a lot of money and time.

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    3. It may be. But liability needs to be controlled in instances like this. Take the above cited "Dee Sanders Horton" - who continually claims emotional 'harm' from the police entering the barricades. In an instance like that, to reduce our liability, the fact that people were legally trespassing is important. Sure, things may have been able to be worked out w/ VIP ticket holders - but when people start looking for litigation and claiming harm. It is only natural to circle the wagons and put forth defenses to minimize actual legal liability.

      Delete
    4. If you want to control liability, simply provide the services you promised people when you took their money. Then there's no issue. I can't believe you would take this angle on the situation.

      First of all, I never claimed to "own" the space and my statement was a subjective one. I'm not a lawyer (you can tell because I use common sense rather than hide behind black and white lettering in the middle of a T&C document a mile long that people are supposed to read while they're watching the timer tick down on their opportunity to purchase a ticket). Here's my main point. We were told that for X amount of dollars we would have access to the front of stage viewing area at the main stage. There were NO conditions put on that statement. Nothing that said, "Oh except for right before the band you're paying to see. During that hour, you're trespassing if you stay there and may be arrested." Then people were thrown out of the area and many of them, the ones who obey'ed, were not allowed back into the area as they were promised by the guards until an hour into Pearl Jam's set. Legal or not, it's completely unacceptable.

      Further, how do you claim that cops had a right to threaten to tear wristbands off of people if they did not comply? That is a private organization using a public employee (and law enforcement at that) to enforce their own policies. If a festival official made those threats, I'd be saying it was wrong but technically they have the right to do it. These were cops threatening women and children with revoking their access to the festival. The cops have the right to threaten arrest, but doling out on the spot punishment in the form of taking away a service that was paid for? No.

      Also, how dare you minimize Dee's claims. Were you in the pit when this happened? I can say first hand that people were legitimately scared. Fans were screaming at cops, cops were making threats, people could barely move even if they wanted to comply, and Dee was legitimately physically injured as well. The woman who was pulled out of there with her 13 year old daughter who was in tears certainly has every right to bring a suit against this festival and I hope she does. A twelve week pregnant woman? Do you think a safe environment was maintained for her?

      I see that you're up to speed on all of Dee's claims and you made a clear reference that implies you represent the festival in some way ("to reduce OUR liability") so why don't you at least identify yourself so people know who you represent?

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    5. If they were requested to leave the area by a representative of of Deluna Fest - and they refused, any injury they may have suffered is due to their own negligence. I am not 'minimizing' Dee's claim - I am simply informing you of the legal defense to them.

      "were not allowed back into the area as they were promised by the guards until an hour into Pearl Jam's set" They can thank their recalcitrant cohort for that.

      Identity is overrated. :)

      Delete
    6. Identity is only overrated when you're ashamed of your ID, as you should be if you're serious about the comments you're making. Who cares what was technically legal or not? The bottom line is that your organization did not deliver on what was promised to some very high paying customers. Then you actually blame the people you screwed over (the recalcitrant cohort) for other people getting screwed over even more than them?

      This whole thing would go away if you guys at least acted like CID did and take some responsibility. Offer some sort of sincere apology and some sort of refund or discount on something else and people would at least temper their comments.

      Continuing to defend what you guys did is only enraging everyone who had to go through it. After this article, one of my followers reached out to tell me that this was a textbook reason to fight the charge with my credit card company. "Service not as described." They certainly weren't. I wasn't going to pursue it but now I think I'll explore that option, if for no other reason than to be a pain in your ass.

      Shame on you,

      Joe Little - Founder of CometothePorch.net and not ashamed to say it.

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    7. I have never said they got what they were promised. I happen to believe that VIP was a disaster. However, the stakes have been ratcheted up to the point where instead of discussing the issue ... defense is the only option. I personally believe that Deluna and subs are in the clear legally, based on analysis by my legal team. Unfortunately, with threats of litigation, comes the inability to work much out.

      PUBLIUS

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    8. Well, that's a start, an admission of a failed promise. Now how will you remedy it with the people you fell short with? Don't blame a couple of people threatening litigation as the source of your inability to right a wrong for the rest of us. The reason things have been ratcheted up is because of the arrogant attitude that you guys have taken.

      Signing "Public?" Doesn't that sort imply you're on the side of the people? Might want to reconsider that one.

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    9. PUBLIUS was a joke. It was how our Founding Fathers signed the Federalist Papers when they authored them ... because IDENTITY of the source was just as overrated then as it is now. :)

      PHILO-PUBLIUS

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    10. Four minutes of research has confirmed that PUBLIUS is not only a bad joke, but a moniker that is certainly not befitting of your comments. The Founding Fathers used it in reference to a founder of Rome with the translation being "friend of the people." Your arguments are against the people and for the corporation that screwed up. They were not saying that identity is overrated, they were humbly not taking credit for an amazing legislative act on behalf of the public. President Madison continually downplayed his important role in the creation of the Constitution not because he was ashamed, but because he knew the document was about HIM.

      A true PHILO-PUBLIUS would not be online defending the greedy actions of a corporation while hiding behind technicalities and strict letter of the law. Why don't you live up to the name and take a stand from within the organization and actually make this right?

      Identity is only overrated for people who are afraid to stand behind their own words. Take some responsibility.

      Why not just sign -Scott Mitchell for fun? haha.

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    11. There is no accounting for taste.

      PHILO-PUBLIUS

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    12. "Your arguments are against the people and for the corporation that screwed up."

      Actually, my argument is for the LAW. Because, after all, we are a nation of laws, not men.

      PHILO-PUBLIUS

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    13. "We are a nation of laws, not men." Seriously?! I guess I had a misunderstanding of what this country was about. I always thought we were a nation of people who have laws that were put in place to protect the public, not to be used as weapons by corporations against innocent consumers to increase profits.

      Trying to skate this issue by saying, "we didn't break any laws" is just sad. Again, even if I were to concede that there was zero legal issue here (which I don't), the bottom line is that the organizers of this festival did the wrong thing and screwed over a lot of people. The uncaring response is just shocking to me given the nature of the festival.

      There have been people online posing as officials from DeLuna Fest just to rile people up. Since you won't identify yourself and stand behind your statements I can only assume your one of those and that you're wasting my time anyway.

      Delete
    14. You are catching on. :)

      You mad?

      PUBLIUS

      Delete
    15. I sure as hell hope that Scott Mitchell is not the one making the above comments about trying to limit his liability exposure, etc. I hope for the sake of the festival's future that the person making those remarks is a troll, and that Scott Mitchell and FFTG will step up and do the right thing, here. As a Pensacola native and an avid supporter of DeLuna Fest, I can say that this mess is beyond embarrassing, especially in light of the inadequate response thus far from Scott Mitchell and his team. It should be noted that I was GA for the festival, but I can't help but feel personal embarrassment for the way VIP festival goers were scammed, especially those traveling from out of town. For those out of town guests, this disaster has not only cast a black eye on the festival, but on the city of Pensacola, in general. Those guests are not likely to return.

      So, I hope Scott Mitchell realizes that the chance of having repeat VIP pass purchasers in 2013 is virtually nonexistent at this point. I hope Scott Mitchell is aware of the challenges he will face in generating any meaningful VIP sales next year, given the absolute train wreck that was the 2012 VIP "experience". As it relates to this absolute scam, the word is out, my friend. People will remember this crap when the festival rolls around next year, if it rolls around next year. And don't even get me started on the trolleys...

      This is bad, Scott Mitchell. Fix it.

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    16. The other 99.9 percent of the ticket holders both GA and VIP just hope you keep the haters at bay, Scott. Thank you for bringing this wonderful Festival to the PCB area! Most of us support you and have no intention of trying to blacken your eye publicly due to individual issues. Keep your chin up brother!

      PUBLIUS

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    17. These weren't individual issues and I wrote a whole other article about the tons of good things that came out of the weekend but the black eye was self imposed and I felt I should write about it from my perspective having been right in the middle of it. I hope the festival continues but they need to know how messed up this was.

      As for going onto legitimate websites and impersonating someone else? Why would I be mad? You're the one who has to be you.

      Delete
    18. I like to laugh. :)

      PUBLIUS

      Delete
    19. It would help if you were funny I guess.

      Delete
    20. It would help what?

      PUBLIUS

      Delete
  3. Well written however this is the second year that I have gone to this festival last year VIP with onsite lodging $2600.00 and the hotel room was the only thing we got that was promised to us. Scott Mitchell is a crook and will not get another penny from me. I am saving up for super VIP at Hangout Music fest were when you pay for VIP you are treated like one.

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  4. Kelley Burnham Brown9/30/12, 3:07 PM

    So glad someone has written what really happened. I was VIP and made the decision to see Dwight Yoakam and then head to Pearl Jam later. I had hoped that some people had cleared out and I could get up front. I wasn't allowed to go to the VIP viewing section until the encore,even though there were people coming out. I was told by security if I asked to go down there one more time, I would be arrested. I too,was screwed last year when I purchased Early Bird VIP w/lodging for DeLuna Fest. I won't go back and will make sure none of my friends do either.

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  5. The fact that that any Deluna employee I.e. Scott Mitchell would try to defend this behavior shows how truly out of touch this person is. Fact of the matter is, about 1,000 VIPs & 150 PJ VIPs got ripped off. People talk Mr. Mitchell. I decided to use the opportunity to promote Hangout Fest. When all the disgruntled Deluna VIPs saw what you get at Hangout, they all flipped out their phones & started getting really excited. Your little Fest was the best kind of advertising for Hangout Fest where people get treated right.

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  6. Dee Sanders Horton~
    WOW but not surprising. I will not bother to tell or defend my not pursuing litigation for my injury. My personal emotional and all those that surrounded me and all those I met latter, & the shear illegal and traumatic situation they purposefully placed unsuspecting, and many who had been people who had been drinking in, will remain one I will continue on the path I'm on to shine a light on, because I feel I have a duty to do so now. God Forbid one of my kids or someone else with medical issues would have to live this nightmare, Panic attacks are nothing to laugh at, and we were surrounded by the anguish of these poor people having them, and screams from others. Should there have been a disclaimer stating when we verbally and physically attack you later before PJ takes the stage , if you have and medical or fear issues, better not come into the VIP area... You got to be kidding me, This is America and it was an outdoor concert on prestigious Pensacola Beach. The DeLuna Festival officials themselves should be diligently seeking these answers and a resolution as they have dozens or more complaints that we know of. CID also, and Frontgate is doing an investigation also

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    1. Will someone else please re-read the first five lines of this post and tell me what in the world it says? This Dee Sanders Horton is writing all kinds of dribble all over the Internet and it's just embarrassing.

      With that said, I do think it's awful that Deluna did not provide what they promised. I think people should deal directly with Deluna to solve the problem. All these public outcries are getting old to those of us who paid GA, were at the rail Mike side through the whole thing -- and NOT ONCE were we even aware that a ruckus was taking place.

      If this event were so traumatic, if this event were so abominable, wouldn't people approximately 30 yards on the other side of the divide have heard or seen something about "an angry mob"? I had no idea about any of it until Monday lunch when I heard people grumbling about it in a restaurant. I have a feeling some hyper-exaggeration is going on by some people who are legitimately pissed about the lack of services they received but who were probably not "abused" by the po-po an hour before PJ.

      Finally, Porch Dude -- you ended up second row from the freaking rail. How do you think you have a legal case against that? Please either get a lawyer or get over it. And for God's sake, quit thinking that one Pearl Jam concert is worth two mortgage payments. That is just dumber than dumb. They are a great band, I am a "true fan," but my God, some of you folks are just insane (and inane) with how far you go in your worshipping of this band. What, are you still a teenager? Grow up, pay your mortgage, learn something from this incident, and get on with your life.

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    2. Porch Dude here. First, I can spend my money any way I chose and I'm fortunate enough to be able to pay for tickets that give me a shot at being up close. If I choose to spend disposable income on a vacation with my wife to see our favorite band, I don't see how that's a concern of yours. I made the mortgage comment to illustrate the point that there was a substantial premium paid for premium services that were not provided to people.

      I wound up at the front through shear dumb luck but that doesn't change the fact that a lot people got screwed, people were absolutely intimidated, and some even suffered minor physical injuries. If I could have stayed in the place I was without all the drama and actually been able to enjoy the show with my wife by my side, I would have been much happier than being hassled and loosing her for the whole show just to be five feet closer.

      At a giant festival with thousands of people all jammed together and excited to see their favorite band you're really surprised that you couldn't see what was going on 30 yards away and on the other side of two rails?

      I'm as reasonable as it gets and I feel that my article was relatively objective considering the complete mess that this became. If you weren't in the middle of it, or even knew it was happening, maybe you shouldn't comment on it. I'm glad you had a great time, ultimately I did too as I said in my other article linked above. I have a public forum where I have the right to describe my experience as I had it and that's exactly what I did here. I'm not a teenager and I pay my mortgage every month. If you're tired of reading about the DeLuna Fest VIP issue, I suggest you click the little X button on your internet browser. It's a very big internet.

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    3. Yes, it is a big internet. I ended up here because you invited me. I got a link in an e-mail that you sent me. I suggest that if you don't want honest comments on your public forum , you ought not make it possible for people to make them -- or better yet, now that your charity event is over, stop sending people your self-promotional advertisements.

      And yes again, you spent your money how you wished, things didn't go the way you thought (oh my, that's never happened to anyone before), and now you join the ranks of lawsuit-happy America. I'm just suggesting that you really don't have a case. You were not denied access to the VIP area. You were simply asked to move so others who paid more than you could be accommodated. Was it stupid for Deluna to handle it this way? Yup, I agree with you there, it wasn't a good plan. Was it illegal fraud? No, far from it. It's not Deluna's fault your wife "sacrificed" you to the second row and your cell phones died. It's not Deluna's fault that a pregnant woman thought it would be a good idea to hang out in the pit. It's not Deluna's fault that some apparent grown-up wanted to be "the cool parent" and brought their 13 year-old to the rail. And I'm assuming the foot-injured woman was also barefoot in the pit? Anyone with a brain would know not to go barefoot or flip-flopping in a crowd of 50,000 on a beach where people have been drinking all day (I personally had enough sense to bring a pair of sneakers to change into because I'm both an experienced festival-goer and an experienced beach-partier). I would finally suggest that other people wouldn't have gotten pushed, shoved, or hurt if people like you had just moved when you were asked the first time. That's the most obvious one.

      So, to conclude, no wonder the legal team at Deluna won't give you folks any time of day. The whole VIP crowd just sound like a bunch of stupid, irrational festival-virgins whose PJ-delusions got in the way of a good time. Stick to the seated arena shows in the future, folks. You'll be safe there.

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    4. My self promotional emails? You asked to be on a list for updates on the fundraising event that I worked my ass of on and raised $7,000 for charity across two events. Never once did I ask anyone for anything but I appologize for being so selfish. My new invite is for you to leave. What's your email so I can remove you? I prefer not to be judged by people who have no clue what they're talking about because they weren't there.

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    5. No bother, it's easy enough to block your e-mail address on my end. I also prefer not to associate with yet another self-entitled 10C member who thinks my being 30 yards away doesn't count as being there.

      Anyone who wants evidence of how much fun the VIP section was having should look at the concert photo posted on the 10 Club fan site. A picture is worth a thousand words -- those folks look happy as clams to me. Tightly packed in for sure, but duh, it's a festival. That really was my point, and I'm sorry you don't get it.

      I extend my special prayers for the children 10C helped. I do admit to having a hard time understanding people who extol their effort to be charitable by writing a whole essay on how awesome they are. Charity is *never* about the one who gives. It's *never* about how hard you worked your ass off. Truly charitable people don't notice.

      Goodbye. I'm done judging you.

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  7. Thank you for this write up! I was one of the CID travel package holders. I literally cried when I read parts of this as I reflected on the night. We were marched in like murderous thieves on display. I cannot tell you the threats I heard (as they were too many). I was knocked in the head (not sure if it was during the fight that broke out or on purpose) when we finally reached the barricade (which we assumed we were being dragged through the angry mob to an open area reserved just for us (as promised)! We were kept waiting outside of the VIP area for more than half an hour and had NO IDEA what had been going on in VIP prior to being rushed through this crowd. My husband and I were also separated and I had no idea where he was (assuming he would be able to join us in the exclusive view area once we made it through the hostile-near riot crowd). I use those words (hostile, angry, riot), but as a true PJ fan, I am also angered that my PJ friends were threatened with arrest, made to vacate the space that they had paid and waited for all day, all so that I could take their place at the last minute. WTH? I hope you all know that your space was only taken at that point as we had NO WHERE else to go. I appreciate the support of people that understand this and I will also keep telling this story so that Deluna will respond and do right by you as well. We have waited for many hours for PJ and would have been LIVID if we were in your position as well as I am with the position we were put in. As a true fan that has been to 70+ shows, I have NEVER seen anything like this. PJ does not treat it’s fans like this. This could have happened in GA and it would be equally WRONG! Then as you said, the person that lead us into the crowd got the “F” out for his safety! I actually made it to one of the barricades (forcibly was lead to the barricade thinking we were heading to our exclusive area - the road ended at the barricade) and talked to security. He told me that I chose to be in there and they were not going to do anything about it. I told him how scary the situation was and he pretty much said, “Too bad.” My husband never made it into the VIP, but the time the end of the travel package line came, the GA barricade jumpers etc, he was shut out and the VIP area was closed off. For the people posting that there was no emotional toll in the whole debacle are mistaken. I was physically hit and threatened in that area. I did not chose to go into an angry mob, I was lead into one. Everything the writer said is true. There were no signs posted that the area would be cleared, no one was told the official plan during the day, and supposedly CID was assured the space all day from Deluna. Yes, VIP was not what was promised, but if the nightmare of the VIP area had not occurred, many people would have been able to walk away and say it was a great show (PJ did not disappoint-they rocked!). I too, only purchased this expensive of a package for the Pearl Jam experience that was promised. Well, I did not get that experience. What I did get was a recurring nightmare of being lead into this crowd, worrying about my husband, being physically assaulted and then being abandoned by the very people that lead you in. That $3,000 PJ exclusive viewing area package just keeps giving. I WANT ANSWERS!

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    1. I am probably the biggest PJ fan outside of the fanclub. Never joined because I am a horrible procrastinator. This was my second show. I too bought vip tickets ONLY for PJ. I left my wife in the vip area for a couple beers before the show started, and could not return. The cops had the access blocked and refused to explain why. We got seperated with dead cell phones and spent the opening part of the show trying to reunite. CID is giving $200 refunds. De Luna fest, where can I get mine?

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  8. I agree with all the disgruntled VIPs- I'd be just as angry and in shock about what happened if it had happened to me at DeLuna.

    This did happen to us though at another festival we attended as VIPs. Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY- exact same situation- we were forced out of the VIP area because of the fanclub members for My Morning Jacket. Very confusing, aggressive, frightening situation- alot of people could have been hurt- and VIP wasn't worth the money at all for that festival- totally waste.

    I understand how it feels to be so excited about something, spend your hard earned money, travel for the show, and then only to discover you were lied to- essentially, yes, ripped off!

    Well wrote article here about your bad experience. I hope too that maybe this uproar from the DeLuna VIP attendees will shed some light on how too many festivals overall are using misleading wording, vague (and empty) promises, false advertising to scam people out of huge amounts of money. This, what happened at DeLuna, is probably the worst VIP rip-off I have ever heard of, but something overall needs to be done about festival promoters/organizers fraudulent business behavior. Not all festivals, just it seems as though some festivals take VIPs attendees' money and give nothing in return.

    Shame to DeLuna Fest!

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  9. As a Pensacola resident, I am not surprised by any of this in the least. Pensacola is a town run by old-money geezers and "hot shot" lawyers. The organizers are all tied in with these fogies and obnoxious litigators. I work in a local bar, and run into these d-bags constantly. (I am posting anonymously for that reason) I would certainly lose my job if they knew I was questioning their awesomeness. My point is that no matter what bands they pull in, No matter how "indy" and "rock 'n roll" they try to seem, it is an event run by corporate robots, lawyers, and elitist a-holes, and it will always have their stink on it. I feel really bad for those who were robbed and lied to by these vultures. I'm sure they're all patting each other on the backs right about now. I'll be making their celebratory drinks while they're not tipping with your hard earned money they stole. Sad.

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  10. I strongly suggest filing a complaint (as I have done):

    http://www.bbb.org/northwestern-florida/business-reviews/concert-promoters-and-consultants/scott-mitchell-five-flags-tourism-group-in-pensacola-fl-90026878

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  11. Next time you chat up Eddie, be sure to mention how horrible Guided By Voices is. He'll think you're an idiot. As do I.

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    1. A seven page article and you decide to take time out of your day to call me an idiot over one subjective line about a performance that I considered awful. I'm entitled to my opinion and you're entitled to yours. Sorry I don't blindly like bands because Ed does. I've never heard of Guided by Voices, maybe they're the best band ever, but my exposure to them on that one night was very unimpressive. The lead singer was drunk and completely distracted from the music. One song, God Loves Us, was pretty good. Outside of that, the whole crowd was just checking their watches. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. I respect your opinion. I like pearl jam and gbv. Hopefully you will check out some gbv and dig it. I think Eddie Vedder is likely a very good judge of the quality of bands. I know where he was during gbv's set and it wasn't sitting in the tour bus. As far as the VIP debacle is concerned, I was on a guest list. I didn't mind getting corralled out of the front of the stage because shortly before Pearl Jam, I was granted upper right side stage access. Congratulations on getting your sign on stage.

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  13. Excellent first-person account. I was media which was GA (I was camped at the rail for GA) and knew of the removal but not much else.

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  14. my girl Kat and I missed pearl jam but caught the FOO paid our 50 bucks each walked right up to the back of your VIP fence in time to see the joy formidable and watch the foo from a sweet spot . it pays to know what to do at a festival. rock on \m/ \m/
    flviking007

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    1. I'm glad that worked out for you.

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