It was supposed to be a glorious riverfront celebration of fine food and drink. Instead, the Chattanooga Taco & Tequila Festival allegedly devolved into a shameful display of mismanagement and misleading marketing. Now many Chattanoogans are demanding a refund from what they have labeled a scam.
The event was produced by Acklen Park Productions, a Nashville company that specialized in hot air balloon festivals before branching out into the world of tacos, bacon and paper lantern festivals. Despite the promise of a variety of tacos, drinks and live music (at $20-30 per person) attendees were stymied by a lack of vendors, extremely long lines, and a short supply of tacos that ran out long before the event’s scheduled end. The advertised “live music” was nothing more than one solo acoustic act.
Irate ticket-holders quickly took to SocMe to vent their rage at the event’s planners. “Who is excited about the Chattanooga Tacos & Tequila!!!!” their official Facebook account asked without a question mark. They were met with a torrent of pissed off replies like these:
One deliciously snarky attendee mocked this pathetic excuse for a selfie-station — which if you can believe it, was actually hyped in the event’s marketing!
Attendees were promised a variety of tacos from a range of hip taco trucks and local vendors. But according to reports from the scene the only truck present was this sad U-Haul:
According to speculation among angry Chattanoogans, the company was working to scrub angry comments from SocMe warning people not to come. I have no way to independently verify that information because I’m a mom/lifestyle blog, not an actual newspaper. But let’s face it, the relentlessly up-with-Chattanooga bias of local media means no legit news source would ever write about this topic anyways.
So will the disastrous abortion of justice known as the Chattanooga Taco & Tequila Festival affect Acklen Park Productions attempts to stage other events in town? From Social Media accounts, it seems as if Chattanooga’s Southside was on the verge of devolving into a Lord of the Flies-esque consumer dystopia. If you attended the event, let me know about your experience. Was it really Chattanooga’s Fyre Festival? Or were a few vocal critics misrepresenting the true experience?
According to a Google search of the terms “Acklen Park Productions” and “scam,” this wouldn’t be the first time one of their taco festivals left a foul taste in a city’s mouth. I’m just thankful that my oldest son, Salinger, accidentally ate a slice of non-gluten-free pizza that day and irritated his bowels so badly that we couldn’t leave the house. Otherwise, we probably would have ended up at the Taco Fest too!