A pizza festival in Bushwick, N.Y., which promised “an eclectic tasting of the best pizza in NYC,” failed to deliver, according to angry ticket holders.
The New York City Pizza Festival was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday for “a day long celebration of the dough, cheese, tasty sauces and delicious toppings”—but shortly after the start time, negative comments started rolling in on the event’s Facebook page about what attendees could actually expect.
“This thing is a joke!!! 4 tents, plates with small slices, over an hr wait to get in and we are still waiting now!!” wrote one commenter. “Don’t bother peeps!”
Many commenters—who paid as much as $75 per ticket—also began uploading photos of the empty venue and palm-sized slices. Others compared the event to Ja Rule’s failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, where concert-goers were served “literally bread, cheese, and salad” instead of the “uniquely authentic island cuisine experience” with “local seafood, Bahamian-style sushi and even a pig roast” as advertised.
“It was like the people from Fyre Festival decided to throw a pizza party,” Connell Burke told Gothamist of his experience. “It was my girlfriend’s birthday so I got the VIP tickets, so I spent $150 total for the two tickets. There’s three pop-up tents to my left, one where they’re taking cold pizzas out of delivery boxes and cutting them. Those pictures don’t do it justice, because they look like they’re normal-sized plates but they’re actually cake-sized, like what you’d use for cake at a children’s birthday party. They’re small, tiny little slivers of pizza.”
Organizers for the event responded to the backlash by posting an explanation on Facebook. “Hi guys, we’ve been hit by an incredible amount of delays in pizza delivery. Fresh, diverse, and delicious pizza was supposed to be delivered every 30 minutes,” they wrote by 7 p.m. on Saturday. “A make-up tasting will be announced shortly. Sincere apologies. Please do not come for the rest of the night’s tastings. Apologies for inconvenience!”
Still, a separate Facebook group has been created threatening legal action against the festival. “This was a rotten scam, they promoted this as a pizza festival and a hamburger festival. People who arrived early said there were about 5 pies cut into micro slices of really bad pizza. There were no hamburgers!” the group’s creator wrote. “Clearly this is a scam and the organizers should be held accountable.”
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Multiple attendees reported receiving a refund for their tickets while others are having trouble reaching a representative. According to NBC New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office opened an investigation into the event and is encouraging those to submit complaints on their website.
A representative for the New York City Pizza Festival could not immediately be reached for comment.