Kelly the Culinarian: Tales from Dark Lord Day 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tales from Dark Lord Day 2016

I said I wouldn't go again after last year's mudfest. And yet, I was there Saturday in a full rain suit trying to make the best of it.

For the uninitiated, Dark Lord Day is the once a year festival hosted by Three Floyds at their brewery in Munster, Ind. It's an all-day affair in which you buy tickets months in advanced for the pleasure of being able to buy super high-end, exclusive beers that are only brewed once a year.

The brewery taps nice kegs throughout the day and sells these beers for $5 a pour. But it's also the largest legal bottle share I'm aware of. People are opening $200 bottles of beer while waiting in line, then further sharing and sipping all day long inside the fest.

In years past, you could buy a General Admission ticket to get into the festival, then pay cash only for bottles if you purchased an allotment, then stood in line at your designated time.

This year, they switched to a cashless system, which meant you paid for your admission tickets and bottles up front. You also got $40 in food and drink vouchers. For $200 a ticket.

We bought two tickets for group D online months ago, which would get us into the festival anytime, but let us buy bottle starting at 4:30 p.m. They weren't in my name, which meant when the brewpub posted a few weeks ago that they had group A tickets for sale, I went and bought one.
Which meant I was waiting in line to buy beer at 9 a.m. Saturday, and stayed until 5 p.m.

This was an overhyped, greedy shit show of epic proportions.

The whole "cashless" system was not an attendee benefit by any means. It was a money grab by 3F. The merchandise, coffee and food trucks were still cash only. It was actually impossible to use all $40 of vouchers. We gave away 11 of our 24 combined vouchers. Lunch was $10-20. My fatty gross plate of pulled pork was $15, and I waited in line an hour for it. I didn't even eat at the fest last year, but had to this year to try and use my vouchers.

For the record, eight $5 vouchers was plenty to get bombed on, if you could ever make it to the front of the line. Because we all had vouchers to use, people felt compelled to drink more to get their money's worth.

I can't tell you how many people I watched scream at each other or at people on the phone. There was so much puking in trash cans and stumbling and slurring. I don't even understand how these people got this wasted.

This event was irresponsibly crowded and poorly managed. If it was a nice day, I might feel more generous about the silly things that happened, but it's hard to find the fun in mud and rain and puke. Bottle theft was rampant. The Facebook group for this event is overrun with people asking if they've seen their backpack or cell phone or best friend.

To that end, we probably saved a life that afternoon. On our way back to the car, we watched a dude drunk roll down an embankment, then keep stumbling forward. By the time we made it to the truck, it was clear the guy was alone. We stopped him, got him eating and drinking and sitting down and tried to talk to him. He didn't know his name, or where he was headed. The badges for the event were in the name of the person who bought the tickets, and it wasn't this dude. I got him to unlock his phone, and I called the same name on the badge in his phone for his friends to come get him. It was only when I shared his location on his phone that I found out the kid's name.

So there you have it. I might give it one more year, because I want to see if this is a fun event when the weather isn't so crappy. I also got nice bottles of beer as a group A (marshmallow handjee FTW). But this whole voucher system made this event an elusively expensive extravagance.

1 comment:

Maggie W said...

Yikes! Sorry it was such a shit show :( When I saw the info about this year's event I was kind of shocked that it seemed like a huge moneygrab. But I guess if you can get people to agree to pay hundreds for your beer, why not? I guess?