With a star-studded list of scheduled guests and performers including Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Timothée Chalamet, Post Malone and Jack Harlow, the Revolve Festival was one of the most in-demand side events of Coachella’s first weekend. But after frustrated influencers took to TikTok to complain about being turned away from the at-capacity event on Saturday, the retailer has issued a statement in response.
“In anticipation of the high level of interest in attending REVOLVE Festival this year, REVOLVE worked closely with all appropriate city and safety authorities to ensure a safe and secure path for guests to access the 2-day invitation-only event,” the retailer said in a public statement on Tuesday. “With an event of this magnitude, city regulations mandate an off-site location for guest check-in and parking, as well as licensed shuttle transportation to and from the venue.… We sincerely apologize to all the guests who were impacted. We always strive to provide a great experience and we promise to do better.”
This announcement came after influencers posted videos on TikTok stating that, on Saturday, they had waited hours for shuttle buses before being turned away when the event reached capacity. Frustrated TikTokers shared videos of people crowding onto buses, stating they witnessed shoving and lack of safety protocol with people running in front of buses.
On Saturday, Revolve had instructed attendees to arrive for the buses between noon and 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., approximately 200-300 people were waiting in the queue area for the shuttle buses, which were only arriving to drop off attendees and leaving empty, much to the chagrin of the waiting influencers. Each time a bus left, people began shouting and asking for answers, which were not forthcoming.
Influencer videos posted to TikTok from earlier in the day showed crowds that were not lining up in single-file lines to get on the bus and stated that people were pushing each other out of the way.
In the period after 5 p.m., some people appeared to be attempting to cut the line. When one group of four men attempted to walk to the front, they were chastised by others waiting. A girl in space buns attempted to block the line-cutters and gave them a stern lecture on common courtesy.
At another point, a girl in a purple tennis skirt and crop top declared, “This is ridiculous!” and barged to the head of the line with her friends. But all of these efforts would be in vain, as there would be no more buses for any of them. A few people in line jumped the fence to ask staff what was going on, eventually coming back and reporting that information was scant.
With their massive followings, influencers are capable of generating significant social engagement for brands. That also means that, if brands make them disgruntled, a marketing strategy focused on them can quickly backfire if logistics go awry.
A TikTok post from Averie Danielle Bishop comparing the experience to the scam “Fyre Festival” is so far the most shared post for the brand in April 2022, with more than 3,000 shares and 346,000 likes, according to data from Traackr. NBC and The Cut, among other publications, have reported on the TikTok posts, several of which have gone viral.
Some commenters have poked fun at the influencers for perceived entitlement, pointing out that many of them received free clothes or lodging for the experience.
Influencers have also taken to TikTok to air grievances about Revolve’s influencer marketing model, including the number of social posts required compared to the compensation offered, which some said was much lower than that of other brands. Micro-influencers, meanwhile, shared emails that the brand sent selling tickets to the event, pointing out that some people in line had been paid ticket-holders.
As a result of the high demand to get into the Revolve Festival, some people started thinking outside the box while waiting in the line. One intrepid influencer in a colorful crochet halter dress and cowboy boots found the address of the undisclosed location on the Snapchat map tagged by her friends that were already inside. She resolved to walk to the venue. A few others left the line and followed suit, setting off on what was bound to be an ill-fated quest.
“With an event of this magnitude, city regulations mandate an off-site location for guest check-in and parking, as well as licensed shuttle transportation to and from the venue,” said the statement.
News reports and TikToks mentioned people getting dizzy and passing out in the heat while waiting in the line earlier in the day.
The influencers all appeared to be in good health during the hour observed. The waiting area was covered by a tent, and staff handed out water. Revolve’s statement read, “The off-site lot was set up with guest parking, as well as ride share drop-off and pickup access with added WiFi for car booking, restrooms, shade, water, medics and security.”
Finally, by 6 p.m., a staff member came out and officially announced that the event was at capacity and the road had been shut down by the police, which was met with groans. He added that no one would be allowed to enter by walking.
The disappointed crowd returned to their cars in the parking lot next to the shuttle site or ordered ride shares, heading back to the music festival or to their hotels and Airbnbs to rest before the after-parties.
On Sunday, many of the influencers returned at an earlier time in much better spirits, joking that they had learned their lesson to arrive early. One influencer posted on TikTok that she showed up at 7 a.m. For people entering the line by 12:30 p.m., the wait time for a bus was approximately 40 minutes.