Chaotic Toronto music festival leaves fans demanding refunds for dangerous conditions
It was a bad weekend for music festivals across Ontario, including one right here in Toronto.
The Kingston Music Festival promised fans good vibes and great tunes, but it ended in plain mayhem.
Held at Downsview Park on Sunday, the festival was promoted as Canada's largest outdoor dancehall music fest, drawing thousands of fans from across the GTA.
But video and photos posted to social media tell a different story.
First and foremost, the lines depicted looked absolutely nightmare-ish. An abundance of boarded up metal fencing, videos show rows and rows of fans queuing in the hot August sun.
TORONTO - #KultureLand changes venue last minute inadvertently disrespecting headliner Jhene Aiko with a tiny stage. #KingstonFest loses audio and runs out of water. #JerkFest runs out of food. A horrific weekend for festivals in the city. Fans are livid. pic.twitter.com/nRlSWNm1tn— SaveManMedia (@SaveManMedia) August 8, 2022
Of course, a confined space also results in overcrowding, which has the possibility to be dangerous. Eventually, when the fences were pulled back, hoards of people ran into the open space, resulting in a trampling experience.
Videos show festival-goers falling onto the sandy ground with dust filling their eyes and nostrils. But that's not where the mayhem ends.
Many people took to social media to share their thoughts, with one main topic resounding as the lack of water available.
Skillibeng, Toronto loves you but the mic and sound quality was trash. #KingstonFest where are your sound engineers?? Screens not working, run outa water, wtf is this??— Ashley ST (@Ash_Simers) August 8, 2022
Yesterday's heat was disgusting and ended up making the city feel around the 42 C mark. It's no wonder many say they saw people faint at the festival and called out organizers for safety hazards.
Is the @cityoftoronto going to investigate why so many people kept fainting at Kingston Fest and deny their application for future events due to major health and safety concerns ? #kingstonfest @CBCToronto— 🎀Kresh🎀 (@misskresh) August 8, 2022
Another downfall was the festival's timing. With doors opening at 1 p.m., the acts didn't start performing until much later, leaving fans waiting for hours on end.
#KingstonFest No because what was that?? Doors opened 1pm, told the show would start 3pm, didn’t start til 7, and headliners didn’t come out until 9……on top of that, NO water, overcrowded, fights, people fainting from dehydration….what a mess.— Kadeisha Powell (she/her) (@itskadeisha) August 8, 2022
Add audio malfunctions to this scenario and you indeed have an unforgettable experience.
But perhaps what was the kiss of death for the Kingston Festival was main headliner Popcaan, who took the stage and called out the disastrous festival.
Blame fell on lack of security, improper event planning and promoter/organizer responsibility.
We left after waiting for 7.5 HOURS!! Not a single main act to be seen and the sound was trash! But 7.5 HOURS!! That’s two Lauryn Hill concert waits in one! Are you not embarazzed? #KingstonFest— Solo G (@girlinthetank) August 8, 2022
It was so bad that Toronto Police even showed up on horseback.
Last night Mounted was called to attend the Kingston Music Festival. There were multiple breaches in the fencing and a large crowd rushed the stage. Officers, our horses and their riders did a great job safely and calmly restoring the stage area so the festival could resume. pic.twitter.com/HGGzmGFLPR— Toronto Police Mounted Unit (@TPSMounted) August 8, 2022
Of course, there's demand from ticket-purchasers to receive a full refund. Some have even called on the city to not let the organizers plan any other events.
This is just one of multiple other festivals that had unfortunate endings this weekend, including Kultureland, where fans experienced similar conditions as Kingston Fest.
A post from the Kingston Music Festival's Instagram page said a press release from organizers would be released.
Nah real shit tho anybody that went to Kingston fest deserves their money back 😭 I can’t believe what I just experienced— Do yo dance AB (@MuchoTV2) August 8, 2022
"Thank you again for sticking with us til the end Toronto," read their message.
UPDATE: Shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8, a press release from Kingston Fest organizers was shared on Instagram, stating that ticketholders would not receive any refunds. They did offer a 50 per cent credit to their next event as compensation to their "loyal patrons."
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