New Year's Eve is often called the most-hyped night of the year. People go out with big hopes, champagne and glitter reflecting in their eyes. Unfortunately, as with many things we build up in our mind, it usually fails to live up to the image presented in movies and promotional flyers. This was the case with Minimal Effort New Year's Eve.
The first sign of trouble was the change in venue that was poorly announced. Originally at Los Angeles Center Studios, the party was switched to the Globe Theatre, also in Downtown L.A. Only when mapping out my New Year's weekend destinations did I see that the address had changed. A search of the Minimal Effort main Facebook page showed one post on December 10th
announcing the venue change, citing "unforeseen circumstances".
The flyers and visual pieces also had an updated address. However, that appears to be the only information regarding the changed venue address, and it wasn't noted in the event information section on the event page. As of the evening of the show, Minimal Effort's page announced that tickets would be sold at the door.
The Globe's website provides rental information, which says that they "can accommodate groups up to 1800." Considering the original venue capacity was 5000, that is a significant drop in space. While ticket sales weren't released, the Facebook event showed close to 2,000 as "attended" and another few thousand as "interested". The Minimal Effort website showed Tier 3 tickets being sold-out. It is hard to believe that they could not do that math and foresee the capacity problems of New Year's Eve.
My group arrived very early, in order to see as much of the impressive lineup as possible. Excitement filled the air. By 7 p.m., the basement stage was filling up. By 9 p.m., the Space Yacht stage (really an attic room) was also shoulder to shoulder. Francesca Lombardo and Human Resources really did kill it. The vibe was unifying.
And then…it became crushing. What at first was friendly jostling became aggressive pushing. I was with another female, and we became very uncomfortable at the main stage and took a break to go to the restroom.
Twenty minutes before, the bathroom line had been 10 to 20 people at any time. When we returned, the women's bathroom line was wrapped from the basement all the way up and snaking out on a separate level. One woman who was at the top of the main level in line told us she had already been waiting 15 minutes. Knowing there was about 10 stalls in the bathroom, and looking at the rate of movement of the line, it was obvious it would be at least a minimum of 30 minutes of waiting were ahead of us. When nature calls, ignoring isn't easy to do. Our hotel was around the corner and we decided we couldn't wait any longer. On our way out we talked to a bouncer and explained that we were covering the event as press, but had to use the bathroom very badly and we were told in that case, we could return.
Fifteen minutes later, we'd return. The line to get in the GA side was wrapped a full block and a half around the building, three to four people deep. That side was being told there was a one-in one-out policy. Back on the guestlist/VIP side, the bouncers did not approach, and only yelled out "Guestlist is closed! Only VIP tickets!" I got the attention of one bouncer and explained we had talked to someone about leaving to use the restroom and were covering the event, having already been inside. He said it didn't matter, no one was allowed back in.
And there, my personal coverage ends. However, several complaints appeared on New Year’s Day regarding capacity overfill and poor ticket management. Especially in the wake of the Oakland warehouse fire, many were upset that safety wasn't a top priority. We've included a handful of them here.
Minimal Effort's statement
on the Facebook event page:
"We also want to take a moment to address feedback we are fielding in regards to last nights venue and capacity. In organizing this event we were met with some unforeseen circumstances that resulted in the recent change in venue. This left us with a smaller capacity than initially planned and the risk of having to cancel some acts to accommodate. Minimal Effort is a brand that prides itself on carefully curated music experiences. We made the choice to fill the venue rather than cannibalize the lineup and upset any of our supporters or artists' fans. In doing so we realized in the moment that the venue was not appropriately tooled to handle their stated capacity. We apologize for this oversight and will see that this is not a situation we put our supporters into going forward." (sic)
While some of the feedback encourage others to get over the push-and-shove, citing the incredible music giving motivation for sticking it out, these were less numerous than the complaints. Minimal Effort's apology rings like that of a boyfriend who you continually catch doing shady things. It's all "baby, I'm sorry" until Pizza Hut texts they love him. Many of Minimal Effort's fans have lost faith in the brand between Halloween's late-open/stage-down issues and now New Year's Eve.
To regain that trust, I recommend Minimal Effort bring a challenger into their midst. I can't imagine anyone but yes-men not questioning the possible problems of a serious capacity scale-down- or not having encouraged having multiple back-up venues that fit the event before the need arose.
Second, I recommend that ME throws a very fabulous and very talent-stacked party at an appropriate venue in the very near future. Apologies mean very little without action. We want to be in love with you Minimal Effort; you bring so much to the table. So please, show our faith in you wasn't in vain.
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