We just returned from another mini vacation, but this was a road trip across the state to a music festival called Reggae Rise Up. It was a two-day festival at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg which is a really pretty area. The awesome line-up included Iration, Slightly Stoopid, Through the Roots, Dirty Heads, and Steel Pulse just to name a few. Let me start by saying the music was awesome. The festival? Not at all! The setup and logistics were pure crap! We’ve been to so many concerts and festivals and this one was by far the worst.
We bought the tickets when they first went on sale and printed them at home. We take them to the concert and aren’t sure where we are supposed to go as there was a Band Swap tent, a Box Office tent and an Entrance. All had long ass lines. Our tickets said to go to the Box Office, but after waiting there a while some people told us we needed to go to the Band Swap tent instead. So we wait there for about 30 minutes to get a RFID band. This is your meal ticket. You needed it to get in and you had to use cash or credit card to load money on it in order to get anything inside the concert venue. So then we wait in line to go in, so add another 20 minutes. Then we get in and the Top Off your band lines are forever long. So we go through the process online which is another 20 minutes to do. Then when our band showed we had $100 loaded we waited in the food line for 15 minutes only to find out our band had no money! WTF??? My bank account showed the transaction but yet we couldn’t buy anything! We wait another 20 minutes and try it again. NOPE! No money. At this point we have missed the first band and I’m livid and want to go home. There’s not help desk and no one seems to know what to tell us.
So our friend who put money on his band at the same time ended up buying us lunch so we didn’t pass out. About two hour after loading money, our funds are finally available. We then do what? Wait in another goddamn line to get a beer. This wait is about 35 minutes. Once you had money on the band, you’d never get to use it because you waited in line for life! We sit and enjoy a few more bands. We met a couple girls who decided to hang with us. The one went for a beer. It was about an hour later and she hadn’t returned. Ben and I decide to try to get a beer too. We find her in line and this line is not moving. We said F*ck it after 15 minutes of not moving and tried the other side. There were only 3 drink tents for 20,000 people. That line’s not moving either. We go sit back down to enjoy the concert we paid for. The one girl gets a call from her friend that she is almost to the front so Ben goes to get in line with her. Two hours later, the girl made it to the front and we bought her drinks since we got to cut in line with her. How ridiculous is that?! Everyone complained about the lines and the festival made no apology or even recognized that they fucked up.
To make it all worse, if you have funds left on your band, they will charge you $5 to refund it back to you. I feel like this is a lawsuit waiting to happen. With credit card fraud and people stealing stuff, this wristband RFID bullshit is a bad idea! What if someone is walking around cutting bands off of people? Just all around the worst set up. And I told Ben that he better never ask me to go back to that festival. I will not go, not into giving them a second chance for that huge cluster fuck that totally had me pissed off before we even got in.
Sunday was much smoother and less packed. But I think way too many people were pissed about Saturday that they didn’t come back. I wouldn’t have returned if we hadn’t bought a 2-day pass.
You can read all the pissed off posts on their Facebook Page. Plus I heard that they didn’t tell the vendors about this system until 24 hours before the event. So they weren’t allowed to collect cash or cards from anyone. And the festival keeps 4% of their profits (again, from what I heard). So beware anytime you go to a festival that requires the RFID.
But aside from that disaster, we a lot of fun on Howard Street people watching. I’m pretty sure we saw babies being made on bar dance floors. we even saw a fight at a pizza place and many drunktards get thrown out of the bars. This is the best place to people watch!
We even were able to hit up some new breweries! Cycle Brewing, St. Pete Brewing and Tampa Bay Brewing. Tampa and St. Pete is a great area with lots to do.