Playground Festival: A Statement from the Organizers
Kevin Lara/OC Weekly

Playground Festival: A Statement from the Organizers

Last weekend's Playground Festival was a disaster, and so was trying to get a statement out of the organizers afterward. Today, however, we finally got a statement from the organizers. The festival producers named a few reasons for why the festival sucked failed. You can read the whole statement after the jump, but here's an abridged version naming all the culprits after the jump.

What, no homework-eating dog? Apparently they're still hoping to make a comeback in 2012. Here's hoping they set the bar a little lower this time--because really, two Coachellas for next year are going to be enough.

We went into the Playground Festival with the best of intentions. We wanted to establish a smaller version of Coachella but branded Orange County. And, much like the actual Coachella, we experienced some growing pains in this, our first year. We're grateful for everyone that came out to support this idea, and especially grateful to all of the valid criticism we've received for things that didn't go as we planned. We will be taking a long, hard look at all aspects of the Playground Festival, from the artists on the lineup to ticket sales and funding to, most importantly, the treatment of our guests.

As you may know, just days before the festival was to start, the OC Register ran a story accusing the funding company/producer of Playground Festival, Elevated Sound Productions, of failing to have properly registered its activities with the state. This was a serious allegation and had an extremely negative affect on both ticket sales and other revenue, and our efforts to fill an area the size of 8 to 10 football fields.
Having to deal with all of the usual logistic problems that come with mounting such a massive endeavor as the Playground Festival was challenging enough (such as one performer refusing a cashier check and demanding cash), but the sudden lack of cash-flow and the last-minute requirements to cut performances presented unique obstacles. The OC Register article alone caused stop-payments on over 10,000 tickets that were out to numerous promotion companies.

This was compounded by the City of Irvine telling us right before we were to open our gates that the first day of the festival, originally scheduled to end at 11 p.m., now had to shut down at 8 p.m. The venue signed our contract that allowed us to go to 11 p.m. and we had planned accordingly, but a symphony concert next door that was being attended by various city and county VIPs trumped us after the fact. As well, one of the head promoters and operations manager's sister nearly died in a car accident just days before.

Whatever could hit us first-timers did, and hopefully, made us stronger and wiser.

On the positive side of things, the majority of guests who were there clearly loved the atmosphere and the chance to get up-close and personal with their favorite artists. Press photos from the event show excited fans and people enjoying the days and nights, and happy attendees posted plenty of complimentary blogs and tweets.

"ForestPunk delivering one of the best rap performances I've seen in years." "Panic! at the Disco and The Bravery put on a great performance ..." "... the staff at the festival were really helpful ..." are just a sample of the online positive comments. The OC Register reported that Big Sean's fans were "delighted" that he took photos with them during a stellar set. And, The Bravery's front man, Sam Edicott, was quoted: "I must say this isn't the most organized festival I've been to, but it's been fun all the less."

Mistakes made once can be avoided in the future. We are still firmly committed to the idea of bringing a fun, all-ages music experience to Orange County, and in the next 11 months of planning leading up to Playground Festival 2, we will be making all of the changes and corrections needed to ensure that Playground Festival 2012 is a roaring success for everyone involved--most of all, the music fans of Southern California.

Follow OC Weekly's music blog, Heard Mentality, on Twitter @ocweeklymusic and like us on Facebook!


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