Hey kids, being an adult is so awesome! We get to go to bed whenever we want. We cavort in giant pits of cotton candy foam while A-Trak does whatever it is that professional DJs do. We wear string bikinis and zip line onto pristine beaches where ponies in diamond-encrusted saddles are waiting to escort us to our next “adult” activity. And when we’re finally tired from our seemingly endless revelry, we gather ’round an enormous stage and listen as our favorite musicians croon us to sleep. Then we get up the next day around 3 or 4 p.m. and we do it all over again.
Forget the lie that all you have to do to be successful in life is get perfect grades in high school and attend a good college. Forget the lie that if you have a college degree the perfect career will be waiting for you, and it will certainly pay enough to cover your costs of living, as well as a three-bedroom starter home with a pool in the backyard. Forget the lie that there’s going to be enough water for you and your children. Those were amateur prevarications delivered by people who love you but don’t seem to understand what decade we’re living in.
If you want a real line about the wonders of adulthood, kids, you’ve got to go to a professional. I’d recommend having a chat with “event producer” Valerie Wang, but she seems to have all but disappeared since her brainchild, 21-and-older music festival Forever Never Land epically bombed last weekend (Sept. 13 to 14). In fact, the term “epically bombed” may be an understatement for the fizzle that was hundreds, if not thousands, of man (and woman) babies slowly realizing that everything they’d been promised was an enormous lie.
To put it in one disgruntled attendee’s words: “No ‘worlds,’ only 2 stages, no slip and slide, no foam party, no water slides, no zip line, no glitter bombs, no paint party, no international food world, no laser tag, no bounce castle, no human sized chess, so what exactly did they have... beach volleyball... yup that is it.”
Welcome to adulthood.
In the organizers’ defense, they did post the following message to the event’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. on Sunday night after the festival had already ended:
“We apologize for our delay in posting a response to all inquiries as we were desperately trying to find the best resolution. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we regretfully have cancelled A-Trak, Robbie Rivera, viceroy, goldroom, party favor, josh vietti, and Marcus schossow performances. Initially, activities were cut back due to budget restraints and with the state of the California drought, it was the appropriate decision since most included a water supply. We understand the frustrations and are doing our best to rectify the situation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and each email will be responded to within a timely manner.”
Some might argue the best time to tell everyone the festival wasn’t going to deliver on anything it promised would have been before they bought tickets. Others did argue that California has been in a severe drought for several years, and if the festival organizers were actually concerned about the environment, they wouldn’t have planned the giant booze fest in the first place. I’m not really sure what water has to do with a bounce house, zip lining, or human chess, but I certainly understand the instinct to blame someone else for your failures. Wanna know why I’m not a Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporter for the New York Times? Commies. That’s why.
Ever since Wang’s adult playground collapsed like a poorly constructed Jameson cake you try to bake in your microwave because you think it will cook faster that way, she’s been responding like a very-important-event-director-who-works-hard-and-plays-even-harder should: by hiding from the legions of frustrated would-be partiers and, as far as I can see, refusing to return any of their money. The Forever Never Land website is now just a background of giant clouds suspiciously stripped of all the information about the event. Wang’s Twitter account has been disabled. Given the number of people calling for her to be criminally investigated for theft and false advertising, my guess is she’s holed up somewhere brushing up on her Orange is the New Black and practicing whittling her toothbrush into a shiv. At least, that’s what I’d be doing. But I do that every Thursday night, anyway.
The worst part of all this is that Forever Never Land turned out to be a giant douchefest for all the wrong reasons, and we’re still stuck talking about it. Now, most of us—those of us who haven’t done a keg stand in the last five years and aren’t likely to mistake a foam pit for one of the wonders of the world—saw this coming. We saw the grand promises of sexy young adult hoopla and booze and thought to ourselves, “Huh, maybe I should make a point of avoiding Avila Beach that weekend. And showering repeatedly, just in case some air from the festival manages to travel to where I’m at.”
Here’s hoping Wang still has some change from the $28,000 she crowdsourced for the festival, and that some of that money can be used to return festival-goers’ money. Otherwise, we all might have front-row seats—or VIP access, as it would probably be called in Forever Never Land—to some fireworks, which more than a few people would like to take the form of what would surely be the most inane court proceedings since the last Kardashian divorce.
Even Shredder knows you get to Neverland by following the second star to the right. Send star charts to email@example.com.