Toronto festival Kingston Fest not offering refunds for chaotic show and fans aren't happy
The drama from the Kingston Music Festival continues as ticket holders try to figure out what exactly happened that led to the chaotic fallout.
Sunday's outdoor festival at Downsview Park had high hopes for being Canada’s largest outdoor show for dancehall and reggae music - but it was memorable for other reasons.
From an alleged lack of water, barricaded fences, overcrowding, long lines and crappy audio - fans have demanded full refunds for their experience.
A post shared from the festival's Instagram page aimed to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the outcome said "the fence breach and crowd surge" required the festival to initiate their security plan, which saw the closing of bars.
Bar closures also aimed to stop alleged thefts, according to the post.
One of the biggest complaints found on social media was that the festival had no available water for guests and that some spent hundreds of dollars on bottle service and VIP sections, to which there were very few or none at all.
Organizers say the crowd surge damaged production systems and required police involvement to push the crowd back and away from the stage.
A tweet from the Toronto Police Mounted Unit from Sunday night said there were multiple breaches in the fencing and a large crowd rushed the stage, confirming the organizers' statement.
Widely shared video shows fans running towards the stage while others fall to the ground and are nearly trampled.
"Our concern for the safety of our patrons and artists resulted in short stops in the show. All measures to control the show were put in place so we could successfully deliver all 4 artists as promised," continued KMF’s post.
But how did this mess start to begin with? A look at social media shows fans placing blame on security - or the alleged lack of security.
No but realistically Kingston music fest wasn’t planned out properly byes they broke the fence but why was GA so far back and CAGED up like that— Schae (@__schxe) August 9, 2022
Others say better infrastructure was needed to keep the audio intact, including covers for exposed sound cables, which many said were the reason for sound issues.
It is important to note that the organizers and staff more than likely did not expect a surge from the crowd, and were probably unprepared for it when it happened.
Everything that happened at Kingston fest was preventable and should have had contingency plans in place for any mishaps..— RebekaDawn✨ (@RebekaDawn) August 8, 2022
Your sound team should have been on it. And there should have been backup options for whatever went wrong
The grounds were poorly mapped..
Though as an expected part of any music festival, some fans argued security and staff should have been prepared for anything to happen - even surges.
I’ve honestly never had so much anxiety in my life. No security and the place is over crowded. No one did their Fucking jobs today. #KingstonFest— None of Ur Business (@MyaColeHearted) August 8, 2022
When asked for additional comment, Kingston Festival provided blogTO with the same released shared on their Instagram page and this brief statement.
"Our security plans had to come into play as with the internal breach of patrons breaking down the V.I.P fence the police and security began implementing the plan as patrons started looting the bars and started damaging production equipment with the fences."
But what perhaps has fans most ticked off is the festival's decision to not refund ticket holders but to instead offer them a discount on their next event.
"We will be moving forward to compensate our loyal patrons by bringing the next festival indoors (inside of an arena) with a 50% off promo code," read the Instagram post.
Not Kingston fest sending out press releases when they’re suppose to be sending out refunds 😂— chi (@Perfectleo_) August 8, 2022
This did not do well with some fans, who immediately took to social media to share their thoughts.
Im still crying how kingstonfest thinks theres gonna be a next one🤣— Likkle Miss 🇯🇲 (@ajxmesss) August 9, 2022
However - some fans did come to the festival's defence, placing blame on those who passed the fences and causing chaos. Others said they had a great time and were able to enjoy all the sets.
Being there, backstage from early, it really looked and felt like they had it together! Unforeseen stuff happening is unfortunate and you can’t plan for it…I don’t know when/where it all went wrong, because I dipped at 6pm before it got nuts— Mastermind (@Mastermind) August 8, 2022
Some are unsure if there will be a future event.
If you're disappointed with the lack of accountability from Kingston Music Festival:— Darius Sookram (@dariussookram) August 8, 2022
1. Report the IG account as a scam
2. Cancel credit card transactions by calling your providers & reporting it
3. Remember that one bad event does not reflect the entire Caribbean experience♥️
We'll just have to wait and see if Kingston Fest will make a return next year. If they do, here's hoping it will be successful.
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