Upset Ticket Holders Turned Away at LA Pride Festival

The crowd at West Hollywood Park for the LA Pride festival on Saturday night.

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 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 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.

Festival ticket holders lined up as far east as the entrance to the Metro Bus Depot (and back again)
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4 years ago

The City of West Hollywood should take over the festival and parade. Christopher Street has screwed up years after year and this year could have resulted in deaths and injury. And who is going to pick up the tab for the Tactical Response? Again we see poor reporting. The MTA does not have a Depot in West Hollywood. They do have an Operating Division but one can not board a bus within its facility. Such poor report would be the same if one called the West Hollywood Sheriffs Station “The County Jail” since they have a jail there manned by… Read more »

4 years ago

Whoa, it looks like someone got too enthusiastic and sold too many tickets that surpassed the capacity of the festival grounds.Hopefully,this will get straightened out before the opening for today,Sunday.My question is how are they going to exchange all those unused tickets and wristbands from yesterday with thousands of people wanting entrance for today. With the parade today, look for a rush of people toward the festival grounds.I don’t think I would be anywhere near this Pride fiasco today.

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