So this weekend's Playground Festival was a resounding failure. The two-day event conceived by promoters Jason Winkler and Dean Abramowitz and held at Irvine's Hidden Valley had dubious claims, that included a “never before seen lineup” of talent (Panic! At The Disco, The Game, Lil' Jon, and Too Short) among others.
If the event hadn't been in direct competition with FYF, Playground promoters might have taken a cue from the Los Angeles indie fest which saw significant improvements over last year's event and successfully entertained nearly 20,000 people. Instead, Playground promoters claimed their inaugural show would be OC's version of Coachella.
But rather than bringing the land of citrus a two day musical utopia, we see pissed off attendees taking to the blogosphere with horror stories about overpriced tickets, and absentee performers.
This morning, a Facebook page created for the event was filled with angry comments posted by miffed concert goers demanding refunds, but by this afternoon, the page had been removed.
According to Weekly freelancer Kevin Lara, who covered Playground, coordinators ran out of media credentials early in the day and failed to supply the VIP area which ticket holders shelled out an extra $115 for. And though there were more than 10 stages, several acts didn't bother to show up including the Game, Too Short, E40 and Steel Panther. The Register hinted that the Game may have shown up to the event, but seeing the pathetic turnout bolted the scene. One source close to the rapper told us the promoters failed to pay his fees which had been agreed upon prior to the event. According to this blog, the whole festival was a giant “pay to play” scam. Organizers reportedly added unknown bands to the lineup on the condition that they'd sell a number of tickets.
So where does one go for a proper redress of grievences in this matter? Yesterday morning, the Weekly received a call from Martin Stein, who claimed to be one of the publicists for the event. Initially he offered to put us in touch with promoters Jason Winkler and Dean Abramowitz, but in a follow up email Stein told us Winkler was indisposed with a broken down van while driving to LA (perhaps he was fleeing OC to cash his checks from this weekend's take.)
When we contacted Stein by phone, he informed us that he had “jumped the gun” in attempting to put us in contact with the two impresarios and that they had no desire to comment on the event.
When we asked Stein if he could explain what happened this weekend he said he was in Vegas at the time and couldn't comment.
Attempts were made to track down Abramowitz through Facebook, but we were only able to locate this page for a DJ with an email address for Machine Life Entertainment, one of the companies affiliated with the festival. However, a commenter was kind enough to supply us with both Dean's and Jason's actual FB pages. The question remains, was this whole thing the result of a couple green horns trying to play with the big dogs, and getting bit?