LA Pride 2018: Festival organizers offer refund after Saturday night snafu

LA Pride Oversold

LA Pride is offering a refund to anyone with an unused ticket or wristband because the festival was forced to close early Saturday night after hitting capacity. Even though the event was sold out, LA Pride still encouraged people to buy tickets at the gate. Photo: Chole Lynae/Twitter.

WEST HOLLYWOOD — LA Pride is offering a refund to anyone with an unused ticket or wristband because the festival was forced to close early Saturday night after hitting capacity.

People also can exchange their unused tickets and unscanned wristbands for admission today, LA Pride posted on Twitter today. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s festival and road closures.

FESTIVAL SOLD OUT, OVERSOLD

“We are sorry and would like to apologize to everyone who could not get in after the venue hit capacity,” LA Pride said on Twitter.

LA Pride’s refund offer was not mentioned in the first Tweet sent early Sunday morning that apologized for the mess. That Tweet only mentioned about exchanging unused tickets or unscanned wristbands for Sunday admission. Several hours later, another Tweet added the refund option.

LA Pride has not yet explained how the event was oversold and why it was poorly planned.

Estevan Montemayor, board president of Christopher Street West, the nonprofit group that organizes the LA Pride Parade and Festival, could not be reached for comment.

LA Pride 2018: History of the parade, hostility from Los Angeles police

Saturday started on a historic note as LA Pride officials boasted that the festival had sold out — a first in the event’s 44-year history.

“We are sold out,” Montemayor told ABC7 Saturday afternoon. “We are sold out for the first time in L.A. Pride’s history, and I think that just goes to show the enthusiasm of being in safe spaces, spaces that embrace you for who you are.”

LA Pride 2018: Circuit parties, pool parties for the weekend

FESTIVAL SNAFU

But as the day progressed, it turned into a snafu.

By evening, thousands of people lined up along Santa Monica Boulevard at the San Vicente Boulevard entrance, but many of them never entered. About 11 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stopped letting anyone into the festival, which was estimated to have about 40,000 people.

Shortly thereafter, a sheriff’s helicopter circled overhead and announced that nobody else would be allowed to enter.

The hashtag #LAPride was the No. 1 topic on Twitter for hours afterward with festival goers expressing disappointment and venting about the tickets being oversold and the event being poorly planned.

One person on social media posted a screenshot of the LA Pride website, which was snapped at 10:44 p.m. It said online sales were closed, but encouraged people to buy tickets at the gate.

KEHLANI FRUSTRATED

After her performance, headliner Kehlani, who had technical issues on the mainstage, also voiced frustration on social media with people who weren’t allowed into the festival. On Friday, San Francisco Pride announced that Kehlani will headline their festival June 24.

“I’m sorry LA Pride reached their full capacity and aren’t letting anymore people in.  y’all deserve refunds,” Kahlani posted on Twitter.

“Really bummed about the technical difficulties. Tried my hardest with absolutely ZERO ear monitor,” Kehlani said.

“As fun as that was, my heart goes out to all the folks who drove, flew, train and bussed here and weren’t allowed in,” Kehlani posted on Twitter.

Later, traffic around the festival was a mess because the sheriff’s department, in an effort to maintain crowd control, closed various intersections.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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