I had a patient to see Saturday afternoon, so we didn't make it to the festival until around 2pm. Our friends were on the inside waiting in line as we walk up to get out tickets. (We had tried to buy tickets online, but the online venue had sold out. However, it said tickets were still available at the gate.) We maneuvered up and down packed side streets and were about to snag a spot not too far from the action. We walked up to buy our tickets...guess what...sold out.
You have to be fucking kidding me. We drove 20+ something miles for nothing. I couldn't tell you how pissed off I was, especially since our friends were just on the other side. Jon made a muted stink about how they should have posted on the website when they are completely sold out of tickets, being that troves of people were being turned away. I simply gave Lily's "You're Dead to Me Now" look.
That's right bitch.
Now, I'm pretty rule governed (color in the lines, don't walk on the grass, contribute to the coffee collection at the office) but I was pretty pissed off at this point. On a normal day, I would have sulked my white girl butt back to the car, drove home, and pouted for the rest of the day. Not this Saturday. As Jon and I walked back to the car, I told him we should ask someone leaving the festival for their wristbands. He totally looked at me like the Inception Animals.
Yes, we are THAT goodie-two-shoes
At first, I was hoping he would do be brave enough to ask someone, but after some observed distress, I grew my own balls and did it myself. Not only did we score 2 wrist bands, but free drink tickets, too. We snuck back to our car to reattach them with tape, hunched over secretly as if we were snorting crack behind some bushes near an elementary school playground.
We try to act cool as we walk to the front gate, but we both break out into a sweat. What if they catch us!?! Oh the public shaming that will commence! However, after much sweating, we make it through the gate entrance unmolested. Eureka!
What did we do for the next 2 hours you ask? Try lots of great grub and hang out with friends? Nope. Each set of friends stood in a different line for about 1 1/2 hours waiting to order and receive awful food. We were all going to wait in one line until we notice that the lines were not moving at all. So, we split up and gave out orders to each friend to pick up. Jon hit up drinks, I got a Korean food truck, Kail and Jules hit BBQ, and Roy hit a wrap-mobile. Sam rotated around trucks, hunted for a shady spot and short lines, and tried to keep the baby happy.
Jon made it out first and distributed overpriced booze. The $16 entry fee basically got you 2 sodas or 1 beer. He opted for the one beer. He got back to me as I waited at the "The Rolling Hunger" Truck. Apparently, it's rated as one of the Top 100 Food Trucks in Houston. After the waiting for an hour, I understand how the truck got its name. I was sooooo f-ing hungry, my stomach was rolling.
I chatted up the dude behind me whose wife was kind enough to bring him a snack from the truck "Zilla" while he waited in my line. Now, I was not expecting gourmet food by any stretch of the imagination. I was expecting some quirkiness and "fun" in the foods. Maybe I am just a food snob, but I wouldn't have paid $8 for this:
|Too afraid to lose my spot and suffering from starvation-induced delirium, I managed to get this unfortunate photo only.|
|First Course: Penne Alfredo with pulled pork, shallots and Cheetos. Gross.|
|Slowest line ever!|
|I don't look so bad until you bite into me.|
By the end of the ordeal we were all sunburned, dehydrated, and really hungry. We drove over to Little Bigs Burgers on Montrose, got some real food, and discussed how this event could have been more successful. This is what we came up with:
1.) More food trucks. We only counted maybe 15 there at most. Some of them had stickers on them that said "Top 100 Food Trucks in Houston". Where the hell were the other 85 trucks? Hell, even 50 would have been better.
2.) Tell the trucks that they can only sell 1-3 items from their regular menu. This would stopped people from hemmin-and-hawin' about what they should get, speed up ordering, and prevent shortages. (We had waited an hour to order the BBQ balls just to find out they were out when we went to order, then we had to spend time thinking of something else. Out of that, too? Geez, what DO you have?)
3.) Only sell tickets online and when you sell out, tell the trucks how many people to expect so they can bring the appropriate amount of food and staff. ALL the trucks had at least 2 items sold out after 2 hours of being open. They weren't expecting that that many people would come out, I can guaran-damn-tee it.
4.) Stagger entry. As with any festival, everyone is breaking down the doors to get there when the gates open. Therefore, all the trucks were overwhelmed from the get go, causing fryers to break down, generators to overheat, and lines to be excessively long. Tickets should be sold in staggered bunches such as noon entry, 2pm entry, 4pm entry, and 6pm entry. This would have alleviated the noon slam and given the trucks more time to replenish supplies and give their generators a rest.
5.) Finally, provide more shaded seating. This event was held in a vast concrete parking lot with very few shade trees. There were a few picnic tables with umbrellas, but most people sat on the ground in any shade they could find. Coupled with the long lines and expensive drinks, everyone was hot and grouchy.
So there you have it folks, another food misadventure Kersten Kolache style.