Sunday, August 12, 2012

RVA Craft Beer and BBQ festival a chaotic failure

Halligan Grill defending its home turf

I had high hopes for the first RVA Craft Beer and BBQ festival today, but those hopes were dashed. Richmond has a long history of great festivals based on food and drink, and I was hoping that this festival would be a great addition. Unfortunately my hopes were dashed by the truly pitiful lack of planning and organization at the event.

A good sized crowd at 17th Street Farmers Market

The key to the failure was the mismanagement of the system of tickets needed to purchase beer. Instead of setting up booths away from the center of the event where lines could be controlled and managed, the organizers put the ticket booths squarely in the middle of the crowded event. This led to complete disorganization.

BBQ champ interviewed

Compounding the failure was the decision to abandon standard practice at Richmond events of charging $5 for beer tickets. When you charge $5 for beer tickets, all you need is a big stack of $5 bills to make change. Instead, the geniuses who "organized" this event charged $1 a ticket and required one ticket for a 2 oz. "taste" and six tickets for a 16 oz. cup. This system introduces $1 dollar bills into the equation and dramatically slowed down the process of purchasing tickets and making change. It also increased the number of tickets needed for the event sixfold, so it was no surprise to anyone but the organizers that they ran out of tickets less than two hours into the event, causing huge delays. I had cash in hand ready to spend, but the organizers' "system" ensured that I was never able to spend my money.

An old reliable friend

After nearly an hour and a half in various lines I never got within fifty feet of purchasing a drink ticket, so I gave up and left the event, falling back on a Richmonder's best friend on a hot summer afternoon: a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon from the nearest convenience store.

Convenience, what a concept. Hopefully the organizers of the RVA Craft Beer and BBQ festival will take convenience into consideration if they try to repeat this event next year.

1 comment:

Jocelyn Plums said...

You must be a lot of fun at parties.