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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Review of DV8, DC Carnival 2009

DC Carnival 2009 concluded in a street parade last Saturday, here is a review of the fete "DV8":

Good day:
I am writing to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the DV8 party that was held by Gresham Entertainment in Upper Marlboro, MD on June 26th, 2009. Traditionally, Gresham Entertainment held an event known as Taboo (hands down, the best party for DC Carnival) on this day, but this year, for some reason they decided to DV8 from the norm and the result was a total disaster as far as the patrons were concerned.

To begin with, in order to attend the event, one was required to "reserve" tickets online. Now, just because you reserved tickets, did not mean that you were going to be allowed to purchase tickets. The people at Gresham Entertainment then selected who they would allow to buy tickets out of those who "reserved". The lucky few were sent a link via email to purchase tickets. Once purchased, patrons were not told where the event was being held. The Wednesday before the event, yes 2 days before the event, we were told where we were supposed to meet to be shuttled to the event. Nobody was sure where the event was being held, but we assumed that it was somewhere new due to the extreme secrecy surrounding the location of the venue.

On the night of the event, we all met at the location specified to be shuttled over. Now, this would have worked fine had Gresham Entertainment hired enough shuttles for the number of patrons attending the event. However, in an obvious attempt to cut costs, they had very few shuttles and so patrons were made to wait over an hour to get a shuttle over to the party. Then, it turned out that the event was being held at the same location that Taboo was held in previous years, so the reason for the secrecy and the need to be shuttled made no sense to anyone. On top of this, where we were made to park and catch the shuttle was a 10 minute drive from the actual event, so if you got tired of waiting, walking was not even an option. Also, if you happened to forget something in your car, you might as well count it as a loss. When we finally made it over to the event, the crowd was small and grew slowly as the shuttle could only hold 32 people and so the party was filling up 32 people at a time.

Next, we decided to go to the bar, because after waiting so long for a shuttle, we needed a drink. Now this event was touted as a premium all-inclusive event. Tickets were $55 and given the hoops we had to jump through just to make it there, one would assume that the event was going to be top-of -the line. Not so! The bar (yes, there was only one bar) that was supposed to be a fully-stocked premium bar only had Appleton rum, some kind of vodka, scotch, smirnoff, beck's and soda. Call me crazy, but this does not constitute a premium bar and definitely was not worth my $55.

Then we went over to the food and again it was sheer disappointment. The food was dry and hard and had us all wondering why we spent our money on this. We still tried to enjoy ourselves, but when one of the speakers cut out, leaving us struggling to hear what was playing on the sound system, it seemed that the night was doomed.
We went back to the bar to attempt to get more drinks, only to find out that the bar was running out and we had to pay if we wanted to get drinks. So, after paying $55 to get into the alleged all-inclusive party, we were forced to bribe the bartenders for drinks. In all of my life I have never experienced anything like this. A little later, the bar ran out.

When it was time to leave, getting back to your car was another bacchanal. Again there weren't sufficient shuttles and so people who actually got a shuttle back were forced to drive back to the event and help shuttle their friends to their vehicles. Completely inconvenient! The party ended around 430am and two hours later, there were still people who had not made it back to their vehicle.

Overall, we were left feeling cheated by the promoters of this event. Previously, Gresham Entertainment was known for quality events. This year however, something was amiss. I don't know if it was that they tried to cut down on costs and cut down too much or if they simply felt like because they had such a good reputation that patrons would come regardless and so they didn't have to try too hard to please us. Having attended Gresham events for the past 6 years I was completely disappointed and disrespected by the way the night turned out. I expected that with the increase in price and the high secrecy surrounding the event, quality would increase. Instead it sunk to the lowest low.

After the event, while everyone stood around waiting for a way to get back to their vehicle, it was clear that the general consensus was that everyone was discontent with the event and many vowed never to attend another Gresham event again. Honestly, I would have to be assured that many changes would be made next year to convince me to attend. First off, if they do attempt the shuttle service again, there should be a continuous flow of shuttles. People should not have to wait for the shuttle to drive a 20 minute trip to and from the event. A premium bar needs to be a premium bar with more variety and better quality alcohol. The bar should also last the duration of the event. The sound system needs to be better. You can't have a successful party if people cannot hear the music that is being played.

This entire experience has left many with a bad taste in their mouth where Gresham Entertainment is concerned and I hope that the promoters take into consideration the opinions and suggestions of their patrons who have been supporting them for many many years.

Edited to Add:

Photos of the DV8 shuttle line from blogger, The Sweet 7:

This is the line in front of her:

And the line behind:

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