I wrote the following letter to Mattress Firm Amphitheatre in Chula Vista today after my experience at the venue last night. I am still awaiting a reply. If I get one I will update this post.
To Whom It May Concern,
I see that you have removed your rating system. I hope it is not so others can't see my 1 star review of your venue.
I was at Maren Morris/Sam Hunt last night and was shocked at the way your venue was ran. When we got there it took us over 30 minutes to get from the venue entrance to a parking spot. Then 45 minutes to get from our parking spot to just outside the entrance upon leaving. And another 20 to get the freeway from there. The parking attendants were doing absolutely nothing. There were no directions given to drivers or pedestrians, who stumbled across the road at random spots.
Let's get to the stumbling people. I know you can't do anything about how much people drink before they get there, and believe me, they are drinking way before they get there. We saw multiple people get out of their cars and pee on the side of the road while waiting in the afore mentioned traffic. As well, people were throwing their drink cups/cans out the window along they way.
When we were leaving, we witnessed a very drunk man get in his vehicle and get in the line a couple cars ahead of us. We were in preferred parking (which meant almost nothing) and on the way out, there is a hill. This man let his car roll backwards multiple times while waiting until finally he bumped into the car behind him.
He was not the only drunk person. I would estimate half the crowd was drunk. I saw a man trying to go down the stairs and it was one of the scariest things I saw last night, I will get to the scariest in a second. Fortunately this man made it down the stairs without hurting himself or others, but it was a close call. I saw lots of people staggering, stumbling, falling and passed out all night. Because it was a week night and I had to work early today, my husband and I stayed sober and I'm glad we did.
The scariest moment, however, was right as Sam Hunt started his first song. My husband and I were on the grass, about a quarter of the way up in the middle. All of a sudden EMTs came and cleared a space right next to us. It appeared a young man, approximately 16-23, was in distress. When they shone their lights on him, he was pale and lifeless looking, covered in vomit with his eyes rolled up in his head. They worked on him for a while and by the end of the song, the male EMT picked him up and carried his floppy body up the hill as fast as he could. I don't know this person at all, but I have been worried about him ever since.
Again, I understand that you have no control over what people take or drink outside your doors, but the drink servers were serving people who could barely stand up to order their next drink. I overheard a woman telling her friend that she just ordered a double and then lost her balance, spilling her drink over herself and her friend. Ask your end of the night clean up crew how much vomit they had to clean up. I guarantee you they will tell you more than you wanted to know. This does not include the piles of puke all along the road to the freeway. Or the piles of puke along the freeway where people pulled over on their way home. And yes, there is a lot of that too.
As someone who has planned, managed, produced, attended and performed events for several years I feel there are a few things that contributed to this horrific night.
1. The parking situation is ridiculous and dangerous. Pedestrians should not be wandering out into traffic or walking in the street. There should be clearly marked lanes for VIP, Preferred and General parking. Lanes should not bottle neck from 3 to 1 right at the exit. And attendants should ACTUALLY give directions instead of just standing there watching the chaos.
2. Train your servers to recognize when and when not to serve people. Plain and simple. If they can't have more to drink when they are already hammered they will be less likely to have life threatening consequences, to themselves or others. Remember, you are sending all these people back out onto the road.
3. There are not NEARLY enough food vendors. Maybe if concert goers had something to soak up the alcohol, they would not be getting so intoxicated.
4. The bathroom situation is a nightmare. I personally don't want to use a dark port-a-potty on any given day, but there were a large number of them to use. The actual bathroom facilities are too small for the number of occupants. This could be why there was so much vomit on the ground, the lines to get into the bathroom were way too long for someone to wait in while feeling sick. (I will say that the bathrooms were at least clean and well maintained by an employee during the show.)
5. I read on your page that you could bring in an empty water bottle to fill at the hydration stations, but one of the security ladies at the front was grabbing anyone with any kind of drink container and yelling at them that they couldn't bring it in. So not sure how we are supposed to bring our own bottle if we are going to be told to throw it away.
In conclusion, I will say I am very unhappy with my experience at Mattress Firm Amphitheater. I am even more irritated that I have already purchased tickets to a future event there, OneRepublic and Fitz & the Tantrums. I will let it be stated that I will more than likely not be purchasing tickets to any further shows there. Hopefully by September you will have addressed some of these glaring problems.
A Concerned Patron