People in Toronto are furious after the music festival made major changes at the last minute
Summer in Toronto is known for its many culinary and musical festivities, and although the past two years have banned such events, 2022 has been touted as the best summer yet.
But this weekend’s Kultureland Fest at the Markham Fairgrounds (and Ajax Downs racecourse) was far from a dream come true, with venue changes and last-minute cancellations.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Kultureland was billed as an event that blends “the sounds and cultures that produce some of the world’s finest artists and offers music fans an unparalleled two-day experience in the city.”
It looks like the festival got off to a good start with Burna Boy delivering an explosive and wildly entertaining set on Saturday night.
Social media agreed, with many saying the performance was the crown jewel of the festival.
WHEN I TELL YOU KULTURELAND WAS A MESS LESS BURNA BOY… I’ve never seen anything like it. ABSOLUTE BORDER
— Rutendo (@ricenbakedbeans) August 7, 2022
But it seems that’s where the positives stop and the negatives start to take off.
For unknown reasons, the festival has changed venue for Sunday, approximately 40 kilometers from Ajax Downs Racecourse. This was announced at 4:10 p.m.
It’s 4:10 p.m. and Kultureland has just announced that the event will move to a different location in a town nearly 40 km away. pic.twitter.com/b5Y1a9RUxn
— Richie Assaly (@rdassaly) August 7, 2022
It was then that some festival-goers began to cry foul and compared the brothel to the infamous Fire Festwhich notoriously promised people a once-in-a-lifetime Bahamian experience only to end up with ham sandwiches and tents.
These kultureland stories are so crazy!! It gives fyre festival 😂😂
— Ronke Alao (@Ronke_) August 8, 2022
Some fans demanded refunds and were very disappointed while others used laughter to express their situation.
After 11 a.m. A whole change of location to another city. Several time changes. Half of the artists drop out. 0 headliners to date. 0 responsibility of the organizers. #Kultureland better pay back pic.twitter.com/LjvloclW7L
—Tuktuk Islam (@TuktukIslam) August 8, 2022
Festival-goers who arrived at Markham Fairgrounds were turned away (sometimes by the police) and told the venue had been changed.
Kultureland just called me and asked if my garden was big enough for a crowd??? What is happening
— Gobi Bryant (@iDSilva93) August 7, 2022
As with every multi-day music festival, some fans drove for hours to attend and also booked hotels or airbnbs. With the news of the location change, people were furious.
I still can’t get over the fact that she came from Nunavut….. NUNAVUT ?????? Kultureland needs to run sis its plays ASAP https://t.co/e0rWWAI6yt
— Serenity ✨ (@_snaas) August 8, 2022
But things only got worse.
Kulturefest – So the concert was great!!! But the festival was not. On their Instagram page the day before, it said to come at 3 p.m. be careful, once you were in the festival or in the enclosure, you could not leave before the end of the festival. We arrived around 3:20 p.m.
— Joyce (@joycekab17) August 8, 2022
Due to technical difficulties in Aiko’s show which “required a level of visuals” that the organizers could not “technically produce in a short time”, her set was canceled entirely.
“Our headliner of the evening will not be able to perform. As we all know, today has been a wild sequence of events, but we intend to give you the best experience we can offer, despite the circumstances.”
yo kultureland jhene aiko is too pregnant for all this
— 𝔂.✨ (@y_bxbyy) August 7, 2022
Many fans say that the promoters and organizers of the festival told them that Aiko was going to perform until the last minute.
It is also alleged that fans paid hundreds of dollars for VIP access and met with less than extravagant terms. Complaints piled up about long queues, ticket malfunctions, and excruciating heat.
Toronto, I know Kultureland was a mess but I’ll be back soon.
— B Young (@BYoungOfficial) August 8, 2022
Some artists have also dropped out of the festival altogether and it is alleged that Kultureland has not released set times for their acts.
“Due to circumstances beyond our control, Stonebwoy, Fireboy, Lojay and Kamo Mphela will not be able to perform today,” read an Instagram post from Kultureland.
So people paid for jhene aiko, fireboydml, stonebwoy and lojay and got —–0/4 sunday? #Kultureland
— The Impatient Tourist (@ImpatienTourist) August 8, 2022
A positive was the food available, which seemed much more substantial and seasoned than the Fyre Fest menu.
It was the best part of Kultureland for me. I have never had so much food at a festival for less than $20 and it was really good?? Usually the festival food is expensive and bland as hell. & really the food wasn’t even from the festival but from the event that took place before 😬 pic.twitter.com/6Vfy7bwxYL
— Azizunisa (@Azizunisa) August 8, 2022
It’s unclear exactly what happened that led to these drastic changes. Some claim the funds were not paid while others say the festival was a scam to begin with.
Someone just sent me a clip of the crowd chanting “REFUND” at Kultureland.. 😭 pic.twitter.com/wOWFwjpgsr
— ❔ (@WHOISMRKOA) August 8, 2022
All comments have been disabled on the Kulture Land Fest Instagram page.
Anyone who bought it for #Kultureland we need to ask for refunds and alert the media to this fyre fest 2.0 so we don’t get ignored by the scammers who staged this mess 😊
— x (@ldnxgirl) August 7, 2022
There has been no official statement yet on what happened over the weekend either.
Here’s hoping fans can get some sort of refund. Or explanation for the disastrous weekend.