Food and Music Fest hard to digest at Shoreline
My family and I had such high hopes for The Great American Food and Music Fest at Shoreline today.
But when we arrived at Shoreline Amphitheatre we found thousands of people standing in aimless lines and never managed to get within 300 or 400 people of actually being served something.
We saw thousands and thousands of people there, and don think we saw more than 30 people, tops, holding actual plates of food in their hands. I sure more people than that were served, but we didn see them.
Here are words we heard, more than once, from people in the crowds: mess were lines everywhere, with no way of knowing where they would end. At a place where we actually saw people walking away with hamburgers (that smelled really good), we thought we found the end of the line, only to be told by someone in a Shoreline shirt that it was the head of the line. end of the line, he said, pointing vaguely in a direction maybe 50 yards and 400 or 500 people away, somewhere over there. saw signs for the Anchor Bar (Buffalo wings) and Katz Deli (pastrami) and stood in line for close to an hour, noting that the only time we moved forward was when people in front of us gave up and walked away. We got far enough to learn that once the line reached a certain point it was no long a line, but just a mob of people milling around, with no actual access to the food vendors that we could see.
People did get wings there, we know, because out of the hundreds of people in that area, we saw two actual plates of wings held by people trying to get safely through the ravenous crowd.
But we never got close enough to get any ourselves.
We spent almost three hours at Shoreline, walking around, trying to find navigable lines, and finally gave up.
We left and went to the Poor House Bistro in San Jose to enjoy some New Orleans cuisine in honor of the old New Orleans by the Bay events that used to be held at Shoreline. Those events had, perhaps, fewer food vendors, but a lot more music, and were significantly better organized.
A modicum of crowd control, or some posts and ropes, would have helped quite a bit at The American Food and Music Fest on Saturday. It a good idea, which is proved by the fact that so many people were there. But I doubt many who attended will go to another, unless the organizers demonstrate ahead of time that they will do a better job the next time they try this thing.
The Great American Food and Music Fest at Shoreline Amphitheatre on Saturday, June 13, 2009. Documentary proof that some people, at least, were able to get actual food at the event.
Yes, it was a cluster fest, and my wife and I were also ready to cut and run after enduring the pastrami line for an hour, only to be told that they had run out of pastrami and it would be another hour and a half before more would be available.
On our way out, we passed the BurgerMeister hamburger vendor, and we stopped and spoke with a woman who was eating a hamburger who told us that, while the line was long it was actually moving pretty quick. We decided to give it a try, and the folks at BurgerMeister were running their booth like a precision drill team they had commandiered the grill in the building next door (which was selling cheesecake and ice cream and had no need for the grill) and were cranking out burgers at record speed. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the burgers were excellent. Once full,
we were able to relax and enjoy the music.
Unfortunately, we never were able to try any of the food we had been looking forward to the pastrami, the cheesecake, the Texas brisket (which we were told by one of the workers at the booth was likely to have been locally purchased meat, which kind of defeats the purpose). I did enjoy the bacon sampler plates at one booth, though (Lord, I love my bacon!) so it wasn a total loss.
I will think twice before attending another such event in the future. I also miss those New Orleans By The Bay festivals, they were properly organized, and it was also one of the few places to get good crawdads.
It was a very long walk from where we had to park until we got to the gates of the festival little signage to know which line we should be in. When I saw a very long line out front, I went over to get in it and then was told that was the line for refunds. I asked why there were so many in line and was told, the food was not ready when they opened. Well, it was 3pm so we figured they had the food by then We walked in no signage to know what was what or what to do next. The lines were about 500 people long. We waiting for cheesecake only to be told it was sold out. We then thought we would try a Smores, it was sold out also. Still with my free food ticket in hand, I thought I would just have a bottle water $5.00!!!
We finally ate, after waiting in line for one and one half hours and the food wasn even worth it small portions, nothing special!!!
With all of the waiting in lines, we missed the music and the cooking demo and the chef sightings very disappointing afternoon!!!
I agree. My friends and I waited 3+ hours in line to get Texas BBQ. We were all starving and figured out that it would take forever to get BBQ, so I left the line (they saved my place) while I waited in yet another line for ice cream and cheesecake for the entire group. I waited in that line for an hour, talking with other frustrated people who told me that wristband system set up to do cashless transactions (which was the method they were trying to use) broke. When we finally made it close to the front of the BBQ line, we all noticed people creating their own lines to get into the BBQ. In fact a number of people who picked up their BBQ were yelling that other people got BBQ in less than 20 minutes by getting into those lines.
The only place that had a relatively line was for the burgers (1 hour).
Pink Hot Dogs were constantly full, and a ticket got you just ONE skinny hot dog on a bun. I think 3 of those hot dogs would have the equivalent meat of a Costco hot dog, which includes a soft drink.
I had a number of pescatarian friends who ate the salmon on bagels, and they were surprised to get a very small portion for their meal Their choices were either the salmon on bagels, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a couple of pieces of cheese on a slice of a baguette for an entree.
Katz ran out of pastrami by about 3pm, and Anchor Bay were coming out buffalo wings every once in a while (one lady told me her husband called to tell her that the line for buffalo hasn moved in 40 minutes).
This festival was supposed to be where you can get food from around the country, enjoy music, and see celebrity chefs, but it ended up being a festival of madness, so so food and extremely long lines. I barely saw Bobby Flay during the judging of the burger contest and never got the chance to see Guy Fieri because I was fed up by the lack of organization and food (due to the long lines) and left. Got to hear some bands and get a glance (couldn hear the chef talking) at a food demonstration while I was in line for BBQ.
I sure that they over sold tickets to this event by the sheer number of people waiting in lines. I feel that this was the worst event I have been to at Shoreline.
I believe if they have it next year another location (like the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds) with more vendors, much more counters for each vendor, an organized line system with people watching to ensure line jumpers/cutters would be stopped,
it would be a much better event and I would attend.
We actually managed to get some food, but that because the five of us split up and each stood in line for over 2 hours.
We were in the wings/pastrami line/mob for FIVE hours (1:30 6:30). They ran out of pastrami for an hour TWICE, but the line moved so slowly that by the time we got up to the front, they actually had it again. Each order took 5 10 minutes to fulfill, so if there were only 5 people in front of you, you had to wait another HOUR.
Great idea, but needs major improvements in execution. I going to sit out the next one to see how well they do.