This Harry Potter-Themed Bar Crawl Is Under Fire After Fans Took To Social Media To Call It A "Scam"
Marketed as "The Great Harry Potter Festival," a themed bar crawl in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday was allegedly transfigured from the most magical occasion of the weekend to one of the most disappointing events in wizarding history. In fact, this Harry Potter bar crawl was reportedly such a disaster that some fans are even calling it The Goblet of Fyre. If you thought the infamously failed Fyre Festival's "luxury" tents were disappointing, just wait until you see this crawl's "handcrafted" swag.
From their Hogwarts-inspired wardrobes to their never-ending stream of fan theories, Potterheads are known for their passionate commitment to all things Harry Potter. They are also know for their, well, intensity — the Potter fandom isn't afraid of arguing over the smallest book details or tiniest adaptation flaws. They also aren't afraid of calling out themed events that don't meet their expectations — or, at least the attendees of last weekend's failed Potter-themed bar crawl aren't. In fact, as a result of their awful experiences, the attendees of the less-than-fantastical event are taking their complaints to the internet to make sure no other Potterhead counts their owls before they're delivered.
Coordinated by Great Crawl Events, the Wizard & Wand Harry Potter-themed bar crawl was planned as an all-night event that kicked off last weekend in downtown Raleigh at 3 p.m. and lasted until 9 p.m., when the official after party was scheduled to start. The crawl, which was supposed to feature 16 different locations and promised ticket holders complimentary Butterbeer, Goblet of Fire welcome shots, and Harry Potter swag, cost attendees anywhere from $15 for Early Birds and $40 for last-minute purchases. In the days leading up to the bar crawl, organizers posted a press release on Facebook that said the event was expected to draw "tens of thousands with massive economic impact," but in the end, many fans said they felt disappointed and underwhelmed. Sure, they weren't unprepared party-goers left stranded on a tropical island, but they were passionate Potterheads who felt the Unbreakable Vow organizers made to them promising a great night out with fellow fans was indeed broken.
Much like Harry's second year at Hogwarts, many event attendees say they had problems with the bar crawl before they even got there. Among these complaints are allegations that a Hogwarts scarf that was listed as part of the original ticket sale was later removed from the package, seemingly without warning. According to the event's main organizer, Zack Medford, the company supplying the scarves was unable to fulfill the order in time, and announcement was made on the event's Facebook page to let attendees know, Buzzfeed reports. (Bustle was not able to confirm this detail, as the Facebook event page has since been removed.) According to ticket holders, however, there was no formal announcement about the fact the scarf was no longer included, and no offer for partial refunds was made.
To make up for the missing scarf, Medford and fellow organizers included homemade wands with each ticket purchase, but Potterheads who are used to handcrafted wooden wands with unicorn hair and phoenix feathers in them were only further disappointed. "We received a chopstick dipped in wax deemed as a 'wand,'" attendee Erin Frye told BuzzFeed News of the event's swag. She, like many others, was also let down by the other perks the event promised attendees, which allegedly included a Cauldron Crawler's Cup that turned out to be just a plastic cup with the event name printed on it, a tiny pour of complimentary Butterbeer some claim was just soda, and a Goblet of Fire welcome shot many believe was little more than Kool-Aid.
The biggest complaint from attendees, however, was not the watered down drinks or the less-than-magical swag. It was the long lines at the check-in table and each subsequent bar that really got fans' wands in a knot. According to some attendees who posted on the event's Facebook page, the wait to get a drink left thirsty witches and wizards outside in the cold for upwards of an hour and a half to two hours. Others were upset that organizers didn't bother checking IDs, scanning tickets, or monitoring attendees. The people behind the event, who count the number of "satisfied" attendees upwards of 3,300 people, are telling a completely different story however.
Despite the numerous complaints by attendees, Medford, the bar crawl's main organizer, maintains the bar crawl was a success. He told BuzzFeed News of the controversial event that "there were thousands of people that had a blast — every one of them was like, 'This was amazing.'" It seems that, despite his best efforts at Gilderoy Lockhart-like Memory Charms, Medford couldn't convince everyone that the event was more fun than the Yule Ball. Angry attendees flooded the event's Facebook page with negative reviews until it was eventually taken down.
In spite of the backlash from angry Potterheads who didn't think their goblet overfloweth with fun at the Raleigh event, Great Crawl Events has future Harry Potter themed crawls coming up. Next stop to experience the magic — or, the mayhem, depending on who you ask — is Charlotte, whose March 3 event already has over 1,900 RSVPs, according to Facebook. This ticket does not have a wand, scarf, or any other swag listed in the price, but attendee's of Raleigh crawl have taken to the event page to warn possible guests to stay away from the Chamber of Disappointment anyways. "Get your refunds while you still can, Charlotte!" one user urged. "A complete scam."