Organizers of the 2018 LA Pride Festival have issued an apology to thousands of ticket holders who were turned away after the event reached capacity more than three hours before it was originally scheduled to end.
“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 further offers 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 with popular singer-songwriter Kehlani as the headliner — capping a day that included live entertainment, art exhibits, games and giveaways — when deputies with the sheriff’s West Hollywood Station announced “the Pride festival is at capacity and no others will be admitted.”
They worked to clear the crowd and the festival ended more than two hours earlier than originally planned.
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 hashtag #LAPride was the No. 1 topic on Twitter for hours afterward with festivalgoers expressing disappointment and venting about the tickets being oversold.
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.”
Some scuffles and unruliness were noted, but no arrests were reported.
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 celebrations.”