Despite the good weather and stellar lineup of some of Australia’s biggest names, punters still found room to complain about the excessive wait for alcohol and organisational problems at the debut of one of Queensland’s newest music festivals on Saturday.
The Big Pineapple Music Festival hit the Sunshine Coast over the weekend, with patrons ready to warmly welcome the affordable new music festival (with its $70 price tag) to the Sunshine State. The inaugural event sold out its 10,000 ticket capacity, setting it up for a huge success in its debut weekend, however the organisation of the event has received some negative feedback from disgruntled ticket holders.
As reported on Sunshine Coast Daily, irritated festival-goers dubbed the event the “Big Line-Apple Music Festival”, after suffering two to three hours waiting time to buy drink tickets, followed by at least another hour and a half afterwards to buy a drink at the bar tent.
Punters complained that the festival infrastructure was simply not in place, and by 4pm approximately 9,000 tickets had been scanned into the event, with the late-comers arriving in time to see crowd favourites Hermitude, British India and Birds of Tokyo, headlining among a lineup that included Regurgitator, Grinspoon, Kingswood, and more.
Festival organiser Marc Pico admitted that the execution of the event did have a few oversights, claiming that; “We miscalculated. We hadn’t dealt with a crowd that big before.” The organisers of the Big Pineapple are the same group that has brought Golden Days to the Queensland coast, which annually sees 6,000 music lovers enjoying the festival each year. “We miscalculated. We hadn’t dealt with a crowd that big before.” – Mark Pico, The Big Pineapple Music Festival
The angry punters shared their thoughts on the excessive drink queues on the event’s Facebook page following the event.
“That was the worst music event ever, very poorly organized,” wrote one commentator. “I want my money back, for the event and the beer tickets I couldn’t be bothered lining up an hour and a half to use. Well done you successfully ripped everyone who attended off.”
“Bloody disgusting. Over 2 hrs to line up for drink tickets then line up again to get a drink, then find out there are no drinks, not even water,” wrote another angry poster. “OH&S could have had a field day here.”
“The Big LINEapple, 3.5 hrs to get a drink, pathetic. The sound for British India was a joke, luckily Grinspoon and Birds of Tokyo killed it,” added another snarky festival-goer. “It was a circus not a festival, they couldn’t organize a root in a brothel.”
While the Big Pineapple Music Festival’s social page received a bashing from unsatisfied punters, the negativity was equalled with just as many attendees praising the festival for pulling off their initial show with a great lineup and many happy customers putting the complainers in their place.
“People actually want their money back? Wtf? A great line up, great venue, great day,” read one comment. “The organizers did a great job and have addressed the issues that need improving for next year. Be grateful to be part of such a great event on the Sunshine Cost!”
“Awesome festival… Looking forward to next time when a few of the creases have been ironed out!!” chirped another.
Festival promoter Mark Pico assures patrons that any unclaimed drink tickets will be refunded. Promising another “gigantic tent” selling drinks, alongside a triple number of drink ticket booths in the coming years, “next year we’ll be all over it,” he says. “We were chasing our tail. We were meant to have about 200 [volunteers], only about 150 turned up… next year we’ll be all over it.” – Mark Pico
Punters’ main complaints on the day were that the beverage tents had “run out of alcohol”, however Pico ensures that was not the case. More accurately, the event didn’t have enough staff to cope with the high demand for alcohol, hence some bars not being replenished. The lack of hands was largely due to about 50 of event volunteers and staff members not showing up on the day.
“We were chasing our tail,” said Pico. “We were meant to have about 200, only about 150 turned up, a lot on key positions. Some did turn up and disappeared into the crowd.”
This is not the first time a new Australian festival has not forseen the extensive demand for drinks and food by ticket holders in its debut showing. Jumping back to 2011’s introduction to Melbourne’s Harvest Festival; like the Big Pineapple, some unlucky punters were forced to miss sets while enduring hour-long waits for alcohol, food, and toilets, in queues that stretched around the length of the festival grounds at Werribee Park.
AJ Maddah and the Harvest Festival team admitted to the teething problems of Harvest’s debut year as “a source of deep embarrassment,” vowing to fix the organisational issues, and even after a potential transport debacle in which trains were cancelled for the day, with our Tone Deaf reviewer of Harvest Melbourne 2012 declaring: “Difficult Second Album? Hardly…. True to their word, [all problems] were fixed for Harvest’s 2012 showing.”
Going by Harvest Festival’s ability to bounce back and solving its initial problems while continuing to supply an attractive lineup in a beautiful shady location, there lies no doubt that Big Pineapple organisers will be able to follow their lead and strive to deliver an enjoyable festival year after year.
Additionally Pico was pleased with their efforts to bring more great music to the coast of Queensland. “This festival is about the music,” he said. “For a first-up festival we are absolutely stoked at the line-up we’ve been able to pull together. There’s a healthy serving of rock, roots, reggae and electronica going on.”
“The bands were amazing, the weather was incredible, it all fell into place for us,” Mr Pico said. “We aren’t outside festival organisers from Sydney coming up here. We are local guys who live and breathe the Coast,” he added.