CANDLER PARK, Ga. - Thousands attended the first annual Atlanta Taco Festival Sunday in Candler Park and what should have been a good time ended in a disaster for some.
Thousands purchased a $37 ticket to get into the festival, but some who attended said they could not use their pre-loaded wristband because some of the activation machines were not working properly.
“Technically 40 with fees and I didn’t eat a taco, so it was pretty disappointing,” said Sheen Dhar who said she could only purchase two beers and a popsicle, hardly worth $37.
Some said the lines were so long, up to an hour, that they got tired of waiting. Others did wait in the long lines only to learn the food had run out when they got to the front.
“I never got a chance to spend any of my ‘points.’ I want my money refunded in full. $80 for two people. Not a single taco to be had,” said one attendee on social media.
Several took to social media to voice their concerns and demand refunds.
“30 minutes into the Atlanta Taco Festival and we’ve moved 10 feet,” said another attendee.
According to the festivals website it was a cashless event and those who purchased tickets used a wristband preloaded with points equivalent to money to purchase food. The wristbands were supposed to make it easier and faster to purchase food according to the website, but attendees said the wristbands did not work and some vendors did accept cash.
“They had already given patrons that had cash and credit tacos, so by the time the people that actually had wristbands and money on their wristbands could get there; there were a lot of places that ran out of food,” said Dhar. “So basically you did not need to buy a wristband, you could just go into the festival if you had cash or a credit card and pay.”
Dhar along with others posted her concerns on the taco festivals Facebook, but she said her comment was deleted. The page appears to have been taken down completely.
“I would just like for them to come out with a statement about what happened, just give us a formal apology,” said Dhar.
FOX 5 reached out to the organizers and got the following response on Tuesday:
"We were thrilled with the community’s overwhelming enthusiasm for the inaugural Atlanta Taco Festival and are disappointed that technological and logistical issues impeded the on-site experience.
We implemented the RFID wristbands to provide a smooth, fast and enjoyable day; however, we do understand that many guests experienced issues with the new system. We sincerely apologize that this, along with long wait times contributed to a frustrating event.
Guests who purchased their tickets through Freshtix or Scoutmob may email firstname.lastname@example.org within seven days of the festival to request a refund solution. If a purchase was made through a third party site such as Groupon or Living Social, guests must contact the third party site directly to request a refund solution.
Additionally, we are taking all guest feedback to heart in order to ensure these issues do not occur in subsequent years."