258 Deaf Street Festival San Diego Flopped

San Diego, CA - The 258 Deaf Street Festival occurred on March 16, 2019. Several questions were raised in the wake of this festival that left people confused. Why was it held at Hard Rock Hotel when announcements had stated “Horton Plaza Park” as the location? Why did they decide to not allow children and instead choose to only offer daycare in an open lobby? What happened to the advertised food trucks, photo booths, and party parade as posted on their social media advertisement on October 25, 2018?

Every other 258 Deaf Street Festival had allowed children under the age of 12, however at this particular location, they simply attempted to “provide a daycare in an open lobby” according to Lupita Trujillo who was enraged that her children were not allowed and that event organizers expected her to leave her children in an open lobby. Lupita also mentioned that many people had come from as far as Las Vegas, and to their surprise, were not allowed in due to the new age restrictions by 258 Deaf Street Festival organizers. A gentleman at the event had approached someone in security and asked if he could go inside despite being under 21 and she stated not to divulge his age and to just present his ticket that was purchased online. This presented a lack of organization.

Disorganization was clear in this space, which was much too small for the hundreds of people that showed up was clear in comments by event-goers. Robert, an exhibitor at the event, said the tent was much too small for all of these people and that he was upset because they blocked everybody inside. In front of the tent, there was no clear line and people were debating among themselves on what was happening.

There were a few notable appearances on the schedule which were absent, including Deafies in Drag. At the event, there was an announcement made that the 2019 Denver snowstorm is what prevented their appearance. Keith Wann was also absent, however did post his own video on social media apologizing due to flights being delayed at JFK.

The 258 Deaf Street Festival Facebook page clearly indicated that guests needed to purchase tickets over the internet, and that tickets would not be sold at the door. The day before the event, 258 Deaf Street Festival announced that online tickets had been sold out, and again emphasized that they would not be selling tickets at the door.

Despite this perceived clarity, many people were turned away. Unfortunately, across their social media platforms, people pointed out a  misprint of “$15 at the door” as published 258 Deaf Street Festival. They shared how unfair it was when they had made an impulsive decision to attend this event and were not allowed entry despite this misprint. Penelope Rodriguez, one of the people responsible for the event and she shared that they did sell some tickets at the door. If this is true, where is the consistency?

The owner of 258 Deaf Street Festival, Dawnena Muth, who also goes by Michelle, showed genuine interest in gathering feedback from the guests about the event. She made sure that the guests were having good time. Muth was constantly busy  checking on the event’s operation, and made herself available to answer questions by guests, constantly moving around the booths.

The Deaf Got Talent competition was, and had been, a major recurring attraction of the festival. Many guests showed disappointment about the lack of the Deaf Got Talent competition at this event in San Diego. Some are demanding that the 258 Deaf Street Festival team give refunds. “I want my money back,” Lupita told The Deaf Report when requesting her permission to share her comments. She also mentioned that a group of eight individuals requested a refund and the person at the front desk wrote everybody’s names down and promised a refund.

Was this an indicator that the 258 Deaf Street Festival has met its demise, or was this merely a one-time flop?