MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – A slate of pop and electronic dance music artists were scheduled to perform at La Hacienda Event Center in Midland on Saturday night.
What was supposed to be a thrilling night of music and fun turned strange and chaotic, hours into those scheduled performances, according to attendees interviewed by YourBasin.com.
One of those acts scheduled on Saturday night was electronic dance music (EDM) artist, Steve Aoki.
“When we found out Steve Aoki and Maluma were coming, everybody was like, ‘Let’s go,'” said Nick Flores, a concert attendee. “Steve Aoki is the biggest DJ in the world.”
Steve Aoki is no stranger to the main stage. The popular EDM artist from Las Vegas was in the basin for one night only. He was scheduled to perform with Maluma, another immensely popular artist. Both were headliners on Saturday, each, with millions of fans worldwide.
“I’ve never played Midland-Odessa, so it was an exciting one for me to play,” Steve Aoki said in an Instagram story, shared on his account.
But the concert was far from expected.
“I just got robbed. I was ripped off. I wasted my gas. I wasted my cash and time,” said Ryan Jojola, a concert attendee.
It’s a sentiment shared by a number of others on social media. Steve Aoki never took the stage.
Colombian pop artist Maluma would eventually perform after midnight. But between the time doors opened early in the evening around 8, to when Maluma performed around midnight, Ryan says there was no music – just a lot of people.
“Only small entrances to go through,” Jojola said. “A lot of people to try and get through. I’m sure the fire department and the fire marshal would have been upset by how this was handled.”
When he first showed up, Ryan says hundreds of people were already lining up to get inside. But the problem was, no one was allowed inside of the main stage area.
“The poor women… they were getting crushed,” Jojola said. “If they would have told us, they weren’t opening the main stage doors until 10 P.M., we wouldn’t have been standing in the entrance of the door for four hours.”
As it was getting late, around 10:30 P.M., and as the silence grew more deafening, something else happened.
“There were buses, starting to leave, and we were like, that looks like Steve Aoki. He’s leaving,” Jojola recalled.
The Las Vegas artist was at the venue. But he was leaving. Steve Aoki took to his Instagram to explain what happened.
“They didn’t have my stuff set up. I literally waited until the last second before I missed my flight and my set up wasn’t even on stage,” Aoki said on Instagram.
“The person setting up the DJs, could not find the wire,” Jojola said.
Ryan said he showed up to the concert, not just to watch the Steve Aoki, but to support friends of his who were supposed to perform before Aoki. Five of them never got the chance to. Ryan says he’s been to EDM concerts before. But the way the concert at La Hacienda was set up on Saturday, made no sense to him.
“The VIP section was larger than any other EDM event I’ve seen. It was as if the VIP section was larger than the regular ticket holder section,” Jojola said.
Off-camera, a handful of people say they bought VIP tickets for hundreds of dollars. But it was no VIP treatment.
NayeLy Segura shared her feelings about the VIP section with our reporter Rob Tooke on Facebook, writing in part:
“My sister and I bought “VIP TICKETS” $123 each and when we arrived we did not know which place was VIP because we were all scrambled with the General Admission, super far from the ecenerio where it was not going to be able to see well, the white tent in the middle of everything did not let those from behind see, We never heard anyone sing or a DJ, and to finish it Maluma only sang for about 45 minutes! it was a Total Theft! So why do they put that VIP TICKETS and GENERAL ADMISSION If we were all scrambled! Me and my sister found some girls that had the same questions as us because they had bought VIP TICKETS too,, and all 5 of us had to buy a table, to be able to see Maluma. Those girls didn’t even speak spanish, they went to see Steve Aoki like us but he never performed! And they stayed because one of the girls said that they paid 200 for each ticket at least thats what they told me! I did went inside and asked them were was the VIP stand or entrance and the guy at the door said to go Out to the Patio and to ask the staff he didn’t even know and he Works there like common! then they made a CONTEST of VIP tables and they NEVER put who won THE TABLE!!!! Ohh and to top it off they were charging for Parking spots! We want a REFUND !!!!!”
Nick Flores showed up early to the concert, before doors opened.
“I’m starting to get tired because of my Cerebral Palsy,” Flores recalled.
Nick says he uses a cane to balance because of his Cerebral Palsy and because of a visual impairment. While waiting in line, among the hundreds of other attendees, he said his night was heading south, quickly.
Nick says he asked event staff for some help, for a chair or a table, so he could sit down while they waited.
“So, I said ‘Sir, is there any way I can get a chair out here?” Flores asked.
He says staff told him they were unable to.
“I felt like a lot of us were kind of just pushed aside,” Flores said.
On top of the missing Steve Aoki performance, Nick says he wants to give the venue a chance to do better.
“They’re a great venue. They bring in a bunch of great artists. We’re in the middle of nowhere,” Flores muses. “I want them to make it right for the people who are mistreated because we’re disabled.”
“A lot of people’s careers were hurt, and really badly, with this,” Jojola said. “Those promoters, they really put their lives on the line for this, their livelihoods. They may have lost it because of this event center’s handling.”
Our reporter Rob Tooke reached out to La Hacienda by phone and by email for comment about Saturday’s event. He is awaiting a response.