No stranger to controversy, infamous influencers the ACE Family is catching heat this week online for their recent in-person festival. Some attendees online are citing disappointing attractions, long lines in hot temperatures, overly expensive food and tickets, and more.
The ACE Family, a YouTube channel with over 18.8 million followers, is run by parents Austin and Catherine McBroom, who posts videos of their and their three young children’s lives. As previously reported by Passionfruit, the family has been at the heart of many controversies in recent years. They have been reportedly hit by multiple lawsuits, allegations of not paying event performers and hosting an unlawful parade, as well as scrutiny for moving into a new mansion after the foreclosure of their $10 million dollar house resulting from the accumulation millions of dollars in debt.
In March, the ACE Family announced in a video they will be stepping away from YouTube at the end of 2022 to travel. In the same video, they also announced they would be throwing an in-person event for 20,000 people called “ACE Fest” to take place in July in the Los Angeles area. Tickets for the festival were sold in pairs of threes and fives for $299 and $499 respectively, leading to an average ticket price of $100. Those who purchased a ticket package of five were promised a meet-and-greet with Catherine and Austin. The ACE family once described the festival as “Disneyland meets Coachella” on their website, according to Insider.
The festival took place in Lancaster, California, over the weekend on July 9, and the internet has since exploded with videos and statements that depict the festival as poorly organized and overpriced. Users across YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok shared common complaints involving collapsing tents, expensive food, disappointing and limited carnival attractions, and long lines in hot temperatures.
Users on Twitter also resurfaced screenshots of the festival’s website from back in March, which promised free access to a “wildlife park” and live performances with the purchase of a ticket. These alleged promises appear to have since been removed from the festival’s website.
In a video series attracting millions of views, TikToker Mariah Delaro (@mariahdelaro1) vlogged her experience attending the festival. In one video, which has over 1.8 million views, the TikToker estimates there were only about 10 carnival rides at the festival as well as some fair games. Although the TikToker says the fair games were supposed to be free, she then says festival attendees were required to exchange tickets for prizes they won—and each festival pass only included one ticket.
“From what I encountered there are only about 10 rides and a few fair games, but the games are kind of sketchy because from what they told us, supposedly they were supposed to be free,” the TikToker says in the video.
In other videos, which have over 2 million views combined, the TikToker shows an incredibly long line for the meet-and-greet with Austin and Catherine, which was included in platinum tickets. The line—which was first started outside in the heat but then moved inside—was massive, wrapping around a huge building.
“[My friend] has been in line for like, an hour, and she’s still I think pretty far back. But the ACE Family is taking a break right now. They’ve been taking breaks every, like, 40 minutes, which I understand but like come on. Everyone else has been in line too, you know? When are they going to get a break?” the TikToker says in a video.
In another video, with over 462,700 views, she says food options at the festival were limited and expensive—estimating there were about 11 food trucks available. She alleges when she tried to briefly leave the festival to find other food, workers for the festival told her she could not return to the festival grounds if she exited. Because she claims she couldn’t leave, she had to purchase the expensive food options—she shows an $8 refillable “aqua fresca” she purchased.
“It’s not aguas frescas. It’s not powder you just mix with water that has flavor. It’s also fucking watered down,” the TikToker says in the video.
Users in the comments sections of the TikToker’s videos were shocked by the festival, and surprised people would pay over $100 each to attend.
“No way people actually went,” one user commented.
“Why do people like getting scammed?” another argued.
Although the creator faced some backlash in the comments section for attending and posting videos of the festival, she defended herself. In a video, the TikToker says her friend offered her a free ticket, and, since she was there, she felt like she should expose the ACE family for the poorly organized event.
“I know for a fact they’re going to say it was a success. This is the reality of the festival. That’s it,” the TikToker captioned a video. “Not yall hating on me for posting the truth.”
On Monday, the ACE family posted a YouTube video discussing the festival and describing it as a positive experience. In the video, Catherine does mention the heat but does not acknowledge any other specific issues with the festival.
“I’m just so grateful for every single one of you for coming out, I know it takes a lot to come out. Also, we’re living in a time where people don’t have extra money to spend on, you know, an event,” Catherine says in the video. “Obviously there’s more eyes on us so there’s negativity that comes with it and we’re so used to it…the bigger the light the more darkness you’re surrounded by.”
Update 8am CT, July 14: When reached for comment, Mariah told the Daily Dot she doesn’t think the festival was worth the price. She claimed she was under the impression parking was free but had to pay $10 for it upon arrival. She also said the festival made promises of a wildlife park and live performances. She said there wasn’t a wildlife park at the event, and only two DJs were in attendance.
“They also promised over 30 rides, I did a final count at the end, and there was less than 20 for sure. It was like 18 rides,” she added.
She said that while viewers were critical of her, that didn’t stop her from recording the event. She said she wanted to capture the “reality of the event,” because she figured the famous family “would say the event was a success.”
She reiterated that while she is not an ACE Family fan, she knows who they are and only attended the event as a guest of her friend, who had an extra ticket for her.
She also said she wouldn’t label the festival a scam because it took place.
“But it was misleading,” she said before calling it “Disneyland meets Coachella.”
The Daily Dot reached out to the ACE family via email.
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