Saturday’s LA Pride festival turned raucous as thousands of upset ticket holders were turned away more than three hours before it originally was scheduled to end.
Ticket holders lined the sidewalks for many blocks both east and west on Santa Monica Boulevard to the festival entrance at San Vicente Boulevard. At one point, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station requested help from other nearby stations to control the crowd with reports of people throwing rocks and bottles. They closed the festival around 11 p.m., two hours before the scheduled 1 a.m. closing.
The hashtag #LAPride was the No. 1 topic on Twitter for hours afterward with festival goers expressing disappointment and venting about the tickets being oversold. The tickets were $30 for one day at the two-day event.
After her performance, headliner Kehlani commiserated with those who were unable to see the show.
“As fun as that was, my heart goes out to all the folks who drove, flew, train and bussed here and weren’t allowed in,” she posted on Twitter. “Throughout all the mishaps, tonight we broke a record. Made history. LA Pride committee said they’ve never seen ticket sales like this. Thank you again, really.”
At around 3 a.m. Christopher Street West, the organizer of the festival, issued an apology to the ticket holders who were turned away.
“We are sorry and want to apologize to everyone who could not get in after the venue hit capacity,” said a statement posted to LA Pride’s Twitter account. The statement offered to exchange unused tickets and wristbands for access to Sunday’s activities, which are scheduled from noon to 11 p.m. at West Hollywood Park.
City officials also promised more information would be forthcoming for people seeking refunds instead of an exchange.
A crowd estimated at more than 100,000 gathered for first day of the festival, which included live entertainment, art exhibits, games and giveaways. Earlier in the day, Pride organizers had announced the event’s first sell-out crowd in its 40-year history. But the overflow gathering was considered a fire hazard and deputies started asking people to leave shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday amid cries of “let us in,” as shown in multiple videos posted to social media.
The City of West Hollywood released a statement on Twitter Sunday that read, in part: “The City … is grateful to the first responders at L.A. County Fire and L.A. County Sheriffs for dispersing the large crowd without major incident. This is the first time in the event’s decades-long history that it has been closed due to crowds. Following Pride weekend, the City of West Hollywood will take steps to meet with Christopher Street West, the event organizer, to determine what occurred and to plan for future Pride
The festival resumes at noon today and is scheduled to end at 11 p.m. The annual Pride parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard at Fairfax Avenue and conclude at 2 p.m. on Santa Monica at Doheny.
You liberals sure can get nasty if things don’t go your way, tisk tisk. Yes it was a shame but people, please, BEHAVE! And they should REFUND, not exchange. That’s insane! Even I would get all over that. PS. I hope all that got in had a gay old time. I love it.
Perhaps Pride can expand into the MTA parking lot next to the Sheriff’s station next year. That would provide a large space that could be used for one of the major stages.
Once again, we have mismanagement by CSW, this time by over-selling. Why is it EVERY year there is some kind of incompetence by CSW that makes Pride complicated and/or less fun than SO many other cities? Any why do other cities (some much smaller) get world-famous names to perform, and ours doesn’t? It’s pathetic. It’s also pathetic the People of West Hollywood don’t DEMAND better. Hey hey, ho ho, CSW management has GOT to go!
I think many residents do demand better. But what percentage of people visiting LA Pride actually live in this city? We are getting the same crowd we get at the bars every weekend, I think. Management needs to be fixed, indeed, and there’s a mess up almost every year. I do hear locals complain about the festival almost every year, here on this site, at Council meetings, and other places.
Is L.A. the only city that charges $ for Pride ?
SF and NYC do a far superior job of running their festivals.
When the events weren’t going as planned last night, I saw an opportunity to practice my hobby on my smart phone posting comments on Wehoville! 📱
Maybe it’s time to consider moving LA Pride actually to LA in a larger venue.
How about expanding the borders of the Great City of West Hollywood on the North East to Sunset Blvd, on the South East to Beverly Blvd. That way WeHo looks more symmetrical and we get a larger venue for events!
Agreed. It would remove the West Hollywood City Council from an event they have shown to have little experience overseeing.
What a total cock up!
I feel compassion and empathy for those not able to gain admittance and turned away. I did not attend, but plan on attending today (Sunday). That said, I’d like to jump up and down and say “told you so” to my group of friends who sat around ‘pre-gaming’ at my place all day Saturday, and didn’t even leave for the parade until 9pm. Being ‘fashionably late’ is still late, and it’s never a cute look. The plan was for sunset, and because of a few selfish people in the group, everyone arrived as the event was shut down – that’s… Read more »
Wait, it is their fault for assuming the festival would remain open until 1 AM, as it usually does, and as was planned?
After building our mega million dollar library in a time where books have gone digital. Which took up a large portion of the foot print where pride once was on grass and the old tennis courts. And now with the mega million dollar park “Improvement” in motion making the “”Park” even smaller. The space our city leaders left for pride this year was smaller. So in our “Gay West Hollywood” we dont even have enough room to have our “Gay Pride Festival” . Just let that sink in. Who made pride smaller this year……..
Of course you blame the city. Try putting the blame ON CSW for OVER SELLING TICKETS.
Ok I’ll try this again. Let’s put the blame where it really belongs,on CSW for over selling tickets. Not on the city for improving the park.
Indeed, this is CSW’s dysfunction. They knew how much space they had, and what the capacity was. We shouldn’t blame the city for improving the park. With a smaller footprint, they should have scaled down the number of people allowed into the venue, or used PDC space, or looked for some other solution. Not everything that goes wrong in this city is the fault of the City of West Hollywood.
I think you are correct, and that some people need a lesson in geometry.