Let’s set the scene for you: 100’s of foodies and pizza lovers alike–all hungry–stood in line for over an hour before entering what was referred to via the NYC Pizza Festival’s Facebook page as a “shady parking lot,” on their way to a bunch of empty tents and barely any food. The NYC Pizza Festival disaster is being referred to as an absolute scam, as some attendees spent as high as $75 a ticket, and are now demanding refunds. “It was like the people from Fyre Festival decided to throw a pizza party,” laughed one ticket buyer, referencing the famous let down this past summer.
There’s one name that remained a common denominator between food festival disasters, however, and that name is Ishmael Osekre: the man behind last summer’s extremely poorly run African Food Fest.
In an interview with The Gothamist, festival-goer Connell Burke stated: “It was my girlfriend’s birthday so I got the VIP tickets, so I spent $150 total for the two tickets … There’s three pop-up tents to my left, one where they’re taking cold pizzas out of delivery boxes and cutting them. Those pictures don’t do it justice, because they look like they’re normal-sized plates but they’re actually cake-sized, like what you’d use for cake at a children’s birthday party. They’re small, tiny little slivers of pizza.”
The event, which took place in a parking lot in the middle of Bushwick, was promoted as a “day long celebration of the dough, cheese, tasty sauces, and delicious toppings,” though attendees were instead met with pizza cut into bite size pop-’ems, and left out in the cold for a bit too long.
The Gothamist also reports that the Pizza Festival was billed to take place in two sessions on September 9th, including two sold out VIP sessions beginning at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Eventbrite description of the festival doesn’t mention any pizzerias or pizza-makers by name, an atypical exclusion from other walk-around tasting events of this nature.
To make matters worse, the event organizers also appeared to have sold tickets to a “Hamburger Festival,” that was scheduled for the same exact time and place as the Pizza Festival. That event promised “mountains of french fries, oceans of ketchup and waterfalls of beer,” with admission prices ranging between $35 and $69.
“This was a rotten scam, they promoted this as a pizza festival and a hamburger festival. People who arrived early said there were about 5 pies cut into micro slices of really bad pizza. There were no hamburgers!” reads a Facebook group called Pizza Festival Scam Victims started to organize attendees looking for their money back. “Clearly this is a scam and the organizers should be held accountable.”
Though we have reached out to event organizers, unsurprisingly they have yet to get back to us. Consider The Consumer won’t let up, though, as we will continue to poke and prod until all people scammed get their money back. We urge anybody reading this article to either reach out to us if you have been personally affected by this NYC Pizza Festival Disaster, or share it with friends or family who may have been. You can contact us via our online complaint portal, or directly by email at ConsiderTheConsumer@gmail.com.
We don’t take any scams lightly, let alone when there is pizza involved.