LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Ticketholders to a Filipino festival that was supposed to happen over the weekend are calling it the newest “Fyre Festival” after it was canceled without any notice to people who paid for tickets.
“It was really frustrating,” said Kemaya Nguyen, a ticket holder. “To find out, not to receive any notice that it was canceled, was pretty disappointing. I felt scammed a little bit.”READ MORE: Pelicans Top Clippers Again, 123-104; Valanciunas Scores Career-High 39,
FAHMFest was advertised on Facebook and Instagram throughout the spring and summer, promising to be a “one-of-a-kind” festival celebrating Filipino food, music and fashion. According to the event page on feverup.com, general admission tickets were $115 for a two-day pass and $250 for a VIP two-day pass for people 21 and over.
Michael Nones said he bought his tickets in April at an early bird promotional price of $20. But when he arrived at the location this past weekend, all he found was an empty parking lot in San Pedro. FAHMfest’s website also appears to have been taken down, and their social media accounts deleted.
#FAHMfest just pulled a Fyre Fest today!! Went to a festival of empty parking lots 🤦🏻♂️ world class pinoy scam? 🇵🇭
— Michael Nones (@MichaelNones) October 16, 2021
“There was a lot of confused people (including us) who had no idea what was happening until we asked the security working around the area to confirm with management that it was cancelled,” Nones said in an email. “We did not receive any email or information prior to the event saying that it was cancelled.”
People seeking a refund for the cancelled event later discovered that Big Time Affairs posted a cancellation notice about FAHMfest on Aug. 24, blaming it on the continuing coronavirus pandemic. According to Mark Chinapen of Big Time Affairs, they were “just a vendor that was doing production” and reposted the cancellation notice from FAHMfest.
“This morning, FAHMfest reached the unfortunate conclusion that the COVID-19 virus continues to be an entity beyond our control,” the post said. “In consideration with the overall safety of all attendees and partners we must postpone the October 16th and October 17th 2021 FAHMfest event to a later date to be determined in 2022.”READ MORE: Chanukah Celebrations Stress Message Of "Light Over Darkness" In Trying Times
However, California’s case rate actually began to go down in mid-August, and other events like the Santa Anita State Fair in Arcadia and the Port Hueneme Beach Festival moved forward without any problems at about the same time. Currently, California has the lowest case rate in the nation.
Nones said he eventually did receive notification of the festival being canceled – four hours after he arrived at the parking lot where the festival was supposed to happen. A number of people on Twitter reported a similar experience.
— Taryn (@tarynupgames) October 15, 2021
This has been cancelled but there is no official cancellation post. FAHM Fest deleted their social media accounts and website. Fever (where we bought tickets) has not issued automatic refunds #fahmfest It's disappointing and I feel scammed but I talked to Fever reps for a refund
— Kemaya ᜃᜒᜋᜌ (@kemayamars) October 14, 2021
“I tried to contact the Fever company for a refund but they only gave us a credit that we can use for the events/concerts they will have soon,” Nones said.
In a statement, FeverUp said their site served as the marketplace for the festival and apologized for the inconvenience the cancellation caused users.
“Due to circumstances beyond our control and despite our best efforts, the third-party organization responsible for producing the festival reneged on their commitments and made no effort whatsoever to communicate with us regarding the cancellation,” the statement said in part. “For months and with no response, Fever exerted its own funds and effort in order to ensure a successful event and enjoyable experience for everyone. The decision to cancel FAHM Fest was made entirely by the organizers, who became suddenly unreachable and from whom we have not heard since.”
FeverUp said they were committed to ensuring all FAHMfest ticketholders were “appropriately compensated for their trouble” via credits or refunds.MORE NEWS: Authorities Investigating Fatal North Hollywood Shooting On Monday Evening
This is not the first time an event advertised on social media has left Southern Californians in the lurch. An event promising ticketholders a chance to fly fire-lit lanterns in Orange County canceled just two days before it was scheduled to happen in March 2017 event, leaving some ticketholders out hundreds of dollars. That event had been widely advertised on Facebook.