Capulet Entertainment promised a weekend full of head-banging at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, but rock and metal fans were left with dismay, dubbing the event New England’s own “Fyre Festival.”

Capulet Fest’s third edition was set to take place from Friday, June 28 to Sunday, June 30 — boasting headlining performances from August Burns Red, Skillet, and Nothing More, as well as appearances from notable acts in the scene like Sleep Theory, Blessthefall, Every Avenue, Gideon, Senses Fail, and Flyleaf’s Lacey Sturm.

However, just the day before the event kicked-off, chaos ensued. Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park revealed the festival would no longer take place on site, and one by one, bands dropped off the lineup, including Gideon, Life In Your Way, Cold, Horizon Theory, Sleep Theory, Every Avenue, and Senses Fail. Amid the news, Capulet Fest organizers took to social media to reveal that the festival was, in fact, still moving forward, but would be moving to The Webster in Hartford.

Estevan Vega of Capulet Entertainment told Connecticut’s WFSB Channel 3 News that it wasn’t the speedway’s fault, it just “became too much to bear for one promoter.”

| READ: Connecticut’s Capulet Fest Changes Venues, Bands Drop-Off Lineup

A day ticket ranged from $65 to $75, a weekend ticket was priced at $190, and the “Capulet Royal Pass” went for $700 — all not including fees. The Royal Pass was a ticket option that offered air conditioned bathrooms, complimentary water, and VIP parking.

As hours went on, fans were left in a state of limbo; questions remained unanswered regarding camping capabilities, VIP parking passes, and meet and greets with artists. Plus, people wondered: how would all these attendees fit in this new space? Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park has a capacity of 12,000 — The Webster holds 1,200.

Then, Thursday night, headliner Nothing More delivered some bombshell news: they would no longer be performing at the festival, and were sent a “proposed statement from the festival that was a blatant attempt to minimize their responsibility for the situation” — which offered no solutions or refunds for those who purchased VIP meet and greet tickets.

“We will continue to apply pressure on the promoters to do the right thing and hope that you will join us in pursuing the festival to issue refunds to all those who deserve them,” Nothing More said.

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One ticketholder, Gage Gluck, told TicketNews he had tickets to the festival for himself and his girlfriend; he was only planning on going to the event because he lives 10 minutes away from Thompson, and amid the move to The Webster, he made the decision to no longer attend the event. He bought tickets off the lead singer of a band performing on Saturday, but because he used the “Friend to Friend” transaction on Venmo, Gluck needed approval from the vocalist to give him his money back.

“This whole thing kinda devastated me,” Gluck said. “It was gonna be our first festival together, and we’re just disappointed that everything worked out the way it did.”

Another ticketholder, Brandon Hogan, made the same decision. He was planning on going to the festival with his girlfriend and purchased a VIP parking pass. Then, when all the bands he wanted to see backed out, the pair were left equally devastated. He expressed to TicketNews that his girlfriend has a heart condition, and with the cramped venue, he was concerned for her POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), as no air conditioning is not ideal for her condition. Now, he just wants his money back so he could see Nothing More with her when the band plays Mohegan Sun in October.

“I work hard for my money and it’s sad to see a local business scam thousands in these hard times,” Hogan said. “I filed a claim with my bank as an attempt that hopefully works, and at the end of the day, want Estevan to be held accountable and him not to do this to anyone in this state I was born and raised in again.”

Justin Parrillo had attended the festival in the past and loved it, so purchasing two $145 three-day passes and $60 parking passes seemed like an easy choice, seeing how well the last edition went. He had booked an Airbnb five minutes from the original venue, but amid the venue switch, he would have to drive to Hartford at a venue he had been to before and felt unsafe. He made the decision to not attend, but is now out $300 for an Airbnb, and $470 on tickets.

“I can’t afford to drive into Hartford ghetto everyday, nor do I want to,” Parrillo told TicketNews. “I paid for a 3-day outdoor festival with 50+ bands. Not indoors in a shit hole venue with less than half the bands performing.”

Ticketholders weren’t alone in their frustrations; vendors also felt the ramifications of the chaos surrounding Capulet Fest. Dwayne Thomas of Ssuphoto Designs told TicketNews he’s hoping their business could still get a refund, as “there was no way we were going to set up a vending outside the Webster,” noting he knows the area well and grew up right down the street as a kid. While the festival organizer told him he could set up his trailer in the RV area across the street, he said this wasn’t going to work; he was planning on profiting from being outdoors with people walking by while enjoying music. This situation is not only affecting his business, but his employees that are not getting paid.

“We have a lot of inventory, a lot of stuff that we were gonna do,” Thomas said. “We thought this was gonna be one of our bigger events of the year and now it’s just a big flop for us.”

Raina Spaziani, of Keifer’s Kettle Corn, paid for a double-end spot and paid for a health permit from the orginal venue’s health district back in March. She didn’t receive any information from festival organizers until Thursday morning when she heard of the venue switch. She’s from Voluntown, which is significantly closer to Thompson than Hartford.

Spaziani was in attendance on Friday and told TicketNews the turn-out was terrible, noting, it feels like a “backyard cookout.” She paid $800 for the spot — as well as the $75 health permit — and now, she won’t even break even.

“If we made $100, we’re lucky,” she said, questioning, “Do I just cut my losses and bail out tonight?”

She said she knows she won’t be able to recover anything from the festival, as that money is gone.

“It’s almost criminal,” she said.

Crowd at the start of the night | Photo by Olivia Perreault

With a last-minute venue shift, more than 12 bands off the lineup, no camping capabilities, a lack of communication, no refund options, and a sour taste in the mouths of ticketholders, Capulet Fest still kept pushing forward — rather than simply cancelling the event. On Friday, ticketholders flocked to the venue, with about 150 people buzzing in and out of the theater. A handful of vendors were set up outside, but the festival-feel of the event was gone: this felt more like an intimate, local show.

Archers took the stage first around 5:15 p.m., thanking fans for still showing up, despite the setbacks getting to that point. Until I Wake came in with the energy, as more fans began more engaged. Local artist Gina Fritz followed in the Webster Underground.

Gina Fritz | Photo by Chris Martin

After her set, Fritz told TicketNews that the day went a lot smoother than people had anticipated. She said that even through the series of events leading up to the fest, she wanted to “give the best performance that I can for the fans that paid money to be here and see bands.” While she said she understands why bands dropped-off the bill, she still wanted to be there for fans so she could give them a show and meet fans, especially as a local artist.

Even through the switch of venue, she said she feels like it still ended up working out, there were no safety hazards, and “from my perspective, everyone was having a great time.” The smaller venue also provided a more intimate setting, which Fritz said she always tries to provide at her shows.

“Yes, it was a setback,” Fritz said. “But in the end, we all have to make the negative a positive, especially being artists and wanting to please our fans who paid the money.”

Blessthefall | Photo by Chris Martin

Following sets from Haste The Day and If Not For Me, a quarter of the venue was packed for Blessthefall, marking the biggest crowd of the night. Vocalist Beau Bokan took the stage with an energy the night needed. The group performed “Carry On” — featuring an onstage appearance from August Burns Red’s Jake Luhrs — and their latest single “Wake The Dead.” They ended their set with 2008’s smash-hit “Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted.”

August Burns Red rounded-out the night with Constellations‘ “White Washed” and “Mariana’s Trench,” giving fans a performance they had craved with heavy-hitting vocals and light show. The typical feel of a metal show was present; mosh pits ensued and crowd surfers fled through the air.

August Burns Red | Photo by Chris Martin

Those who did attend the fest tried to make the most of the night; one attendee in the crowd gave away friendship bracelets. While she originally was excited for the festival to take place at a racetrack, she digged the intimate vibes.

“I’m still having fun,” she said with a shrug.

Krystal E Johnson purchased three-day tickets through Saved By Scarlet, who performed on Saturday. She lives in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and had to change her plans and make different accommodations last-minute so she could attend the event in Hartford. While Friday’s turnout allowed the crowd to move freely, she expressed worry for Saturday, especially as acts like Adelitas Way, Red, and Skillet are set to take the stage.

While Johnson said the festival should’ve just cancelled, she’s still glad that organizers made an effort.

“I’m glad they made the effort,” Johnson said. “The bands still deserve to play. I drove two hours to come support them. I’m glad that the bands that still came made the effort. I understand the other bands backing out because they don’t want to promote this, I don’t blame them. But I do think that people do deserve refunds.”

When asked if she would still attend Capulet Fest next year — should there still be an event — she echoed similar sentiments as other festivalgoers: “I don’t think so.”

While Saturday’s show went on as planned — featuring performances from Red, Adelitas Way, and headliner Skillet — Sunday did not come to fruition. Capulet Fest organizers took to Facebook late Saturday night to break the news.

“Sunday is no longer an option,” the post read. “We fought. We wrestled with obstacle after obstacle. We became a target. We became hated, even when we were doing our best to save something and give you the best show possible. No one sees the sacrifice. All they do is judge. We did everything we could. We hope you had fun. We did our best. Thank you to everyone who came out and had a blast. We hope you enjoyed the meet and greets. We hope you enjoyed the music. Goodbye.”

The statement did not offer any reasoning for the cancellation, however, The Webster told Hearst Connecticut in an emailed statement on Sunday that “Capulet failed to meet their financial obligations with the venue to pay for staff, the security, production company, and more.”

“The Webster did its best to be supportive and do right by the rock community and attendees who were left with no where to go this weekend,” Claude Elie, a managing partner with Concert Crave — which operates The Webster — told the publication.

At this point, festival organizers have not offered any information regarding refunds. Vega told Connecticut’s WFSB Channel 3 News “we’re working that out, I can’t say yes or no at the moment.”

“We definitely have clearly stated policies when people purchase tickets, we also had clearly available ticket purchase protection, which was an option for people,” Vega said.

As of Sunday night, Vega’s personal Facebook page, as well as Capulet Fest’s official Facebook page, have been deleted.

Frustrated festivalgoers started-up a group on Facebook titled “Victims of Capulet Fest 2024,” where attendees shared stories and gave advice on how to receive money back via credit card companies or banks. Others are reaching out to the Connecticut Attorney General.

This is a developing story. Stay with TicketNews for updates.