Beer Bacon Music festival ticket holder Irene Hafner spent $125 and almost two hours in line Saturday and didn’t even get to smell bacon, she said.
Ticket buyers for the two-day Frederick festival were promised an all-you-can-eat bar with 2 tons of bacon, 10 bands, more than 100 varieties of beer and vendors from at least 30 breweries.
Event promoter Kenneth MacFawn said they delivered on those promises, but some of Saturday's 5,000 attendees were disappointed by long lines and empty buffet trays.
According to MacFawn, supply wasn't the problem; the cooks couldn't keep up with the demand for bacon.
"It was logistically all set up so there was no way you could run out of bacon," he said.
But Hafner, a Jefferson resident, said she waited for an hour to get into the event, then spent an additional 45 minutes in line for the bacon bar.
“Not one piece of bacon got in my mouth,” she said.
Hafner is working with her credit card company to get a refund for her and her husban's VIP tickets.
“I got a T-shirt, a turkey sandwich and probably a total of one beer for $125,” she said.
Unhappy festivalgoers have also spawned a Reddit thread, a Twitter account and hundreds of comments on Facebook.
According to David Paulson, spokesman for Maryland's attorney general, three consumer complaints against the Beer Bacon Music festival had been filed as of Monday afternoon.
James Braswell, an attorney based in Glen Burnie who attended the event, commented on Facebook that MacFawn would be hearing from his office.
“If one is going to advertise all-you-can-eat bacon, you better have all-you-can-eat bacon,” Braswell wrote in an email. The complaint he plans to file in district court will mention unfair trade practices and fraud, he said.
The Brewers Association of Maryland had decided not to endorse the Beer Bacon Music festival due to "vast philosophical differences between the two groups," according to JT Smith, the association's executive director.
"We choose to endorse events operating with the highest level of integrity that share our collective philosophy of how to properly promote craft beer," he said in a statement.
The association's annual Maryland Craft Beer Festival will be held May 31 in Frederick.
Comments about the second day of the bacon and beer event — which drew about 2,500 people, according to event organizer Jay Jeffrey — were markedly more positive. Sunday attendees said there were no crowds, no lines and more than enough beer and bacon to go around.
Hafner and Braswell said they're still looking for the event organizers to respond to the complaints from Saturday attendees.
“I'd drop the thing if they just came out and apologized, perhaps refunded some money to those who went on Saturday,” Braswell said.
MacFawn said 35 people have asked for refunds, but he and the event's three other organizers have not yet determined how or if they can do that.
People have not been civil in their requests, he said.
"It was all cuss words, demanding refunds without saying what happened," he said. "There's no way I can grow from that."
MacFawn, who owns taxi company MacFawn's Green Rides, said he is always looking for ways to expand tourism and help downtown Frederick.
"I thought it would be the coolest thing to have the biggest craft (beer) competition in the world," he said.
The event's home-brew competition brought local brewers to Frederick to compete in 10 categories. The "Best In Show" award went to Beth Gangloff of Damascus.
MacFawn said all attendees who bought their tickets online, and provided their email addresses, will be sent a written statement about the festival in response to the complaints.
Follow Sylvia Carignan on Twitter: @SylviaCarignan.
(This story has been updated to correct who won Best in Show.)