Over the weekend, disaster struck Knotfest, a heavy metal festival, in Iowa. This is an event celebrating one of Iowa’s most famous bands, Slipknot, which is where its name comes from. It took place at the National Balloon Classic Field in Indianola. However, even midwest festivals suffer the lament of long lines for water.
Several attendees experienced the same dread and took to Facebook to vent. The venue only had one tent selling non-alcoholic beverages including water for 30,000 people. In addition, fans could not bring their own food and drinks. While waiting in line for water, festivalgoers CJ Dennis and Mary Capron witnessed people in line passing out due to dehydration. It took at least two hours to get water, and lines of people filled the fields. Some people didn’t even know what line they were standing in but knew they needed to try something.
The festival didn’t have refillable water stations, or wayfinding signage pointing to it. Not ergonomically designed and not spread out, this sounds like Fyre Festival in the midwest. Dennis and Capron didn’t even get to see Slipknot because they chose their health above the event, among many others that watched the show in line or bounced. Some hashtagged it the “in line fest”.
“In preparation for this inaugural event, Mammoth Productions engaged with one of Iowa’s largest concessionaires who manages many large events and numerous concerts to ensure a positive guest experience. [We’re disappointed we didn’t achieve this]. We strive for excellence in all aspects of events and will continue to do so. We’re pleased to bring such a popular event to Iowa, entertaining and employing thousands in the process. We appreciate all the artists, our partners, and mostly – the fans that purchased tickets. We look forward to building on this event and bringing Knotfest back to Iowa again in the future.”
Mammoth Productions spokesperson
The concessionaire posted their statement:
BEST Concessions and Catering would like to apologize to all those who were affected by the events at Saturday’s Knotfest. As the concessionaire and head of food vendors for this year’s Knotfest in Iowa and an experienced concert concessionaire, we went into the event with a staff we expected would be able to accommodate Knotfest. However, a few days before the festival, our staff dwindled.
At that point, we regrouped and hired additional help and unfortunately on the day of the event, we saw a huge drop in staff. As many others in the hospitality industry have seen, staffing has been difficult with the ongoing pandemic. With more than 30 years of experience in hospitality this was an unprecedented occurrence and as a company we will work hard to prevent situations like this from arising again. We are again very sorry for the experience some concertgoers had and apologize to everyone who encountered long lines and were unable to access concessions.
No word yet on how many of these incidences happened. At $100 per ticket and horrible circumstances, let’s hope that this is a learning experience.