ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A much-anticipated food and music festival with some big-name headliners was supposed to come to Albuquerque this weekend. But the city says they never signed off on it. Now, ticket holders and vendors are demanding their money back.
“I just want a refund. I paid 400 dollars for, you know, this event.” Theresa Garcia signed up to be a vendor at the Tacos and Tequila Fest that was originally scheduled for this Saturday.
Event organizers said there would be 2 stages, more than 100 vendors, and on top of that, performances by Grammy-award-winning hip-hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Twista, all at Balloon Fiesta Park.
But just days before the event it was canceled. Susan Rice manages the Balloon Fiesta Park. She said, “It is not booked at the Balloon Fiesta Park; we don’t have a contract.”
After word of the event spread on social media, the city’s Parks and Rec Department took to Facebook to say that the festival will not go on as planned and it is not a city-sponsored event. “We vet events fairly well, and then I do have fairly strict protocols that they need to follow as far as sound limits and how they serve alcohol, if they serve alcohol, and that type of thing,” says Rice.
Vendors, like Garcia, and people who paid up to $200 for tickets are now out hundreds of dollars. “I live in Las Vegas where the fires are, so I mean come on, there’s a lot going on for everybody. I don’t want to be put in a position where I’m just handing money out,” Garcia explains.
We called one of the organizers to see where things went wrong. “When the head promoter booked the event it went through what he thought was a city official,” explains Vic Villa, one of the artists for Tacos and Tequila. Villa continues, “He found out he was never a part of the city of Albuquerque, so realistically we got scammed.”
Event planners say they’re postponing the event and will give people the opportunity for a refund. “Miguel is the name of the head promoter, by the way. He said that he was going to wait until tomorrow when the mass announcement for the new date comes out to see who wants to–who actually wants to keep their tickets and who actually wants a refund,” Villa explains.
But people who bought tickets say they wish there was more communication when issues arose. Garcia said, “When you just kind of leave people in the dark, it feels like a scam; it feels like you’re being betrayed in a way, you know?”
According to the schedule for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, they’re actually booked to perform in Illinois on Saturday.