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Was The Austin Food & Wine Fest Kind Of A Shit Show?

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Photo: Eric McGregor/EATX

When CultureMap Austin gets up the gumption to actually call something in this city "bad," it's time to take notice. Jessica Dupuy recaps last weekend's Austin Food & Wine Festival for the usually cheerleadery online publication and writes that though the festival was a "pretty great success," she's got a whole list of complaints that include "long, hot, and deflating" lines, dead time between seminars, unimpressive VIP perks and the ubiquitous dust that settled in a grimy layer over people, food and booze for the entire weekend.

But you'd never know anyone had anything but a blast during every waking moment based on this HuffPo writeup, which briefly mentions "some pushback from Mother Nature" but declares the fest "a delicious weekend and a smooth production." Indeed, even our own guest editor Megan Giller, who attended the fest, found naught to neg about. Over at Texas Monthly, Layne Lynch called the food and wine "amazing" and said the fest "provided good to great satisfaction and entertainment for the commencement year" despite the dust and a "lack of tents, fans, and seating." And Addie Broyles at the Statesman asks if the $250 price tag was worth it, then ends up not actually answering her own question.

Chowhounders who said they attended had myriad complaints, writing, "We spent more time standing in line than we did learning anything," and noting the lack of live music: "An empty stage in Austin with a captive audience is heresy." Another attendee complains that "there wasn't enough food," while another could "actually see dust clouds wafting in" during a wine tasting. (Whereas the official Chow.com recap is about how the site's editor got wasted, drunkenly stumbled across the city and ate some fried chicken. So.)

Yelpers were also more negative than their media-type counterparts, complaining that there weren't enough places to sit and that "everything we ate and drank had dirt all over it." Even this four-star-reviewer had a litany of improvement suggestions, on everything from the dust issue to noting that the food festival "could use a bit more food."

Eaters, did you attend? Who's got it right: the sunshine-and-rainbows crowd, or the curmudgeonly dust-haters?

UPDATE: You'll be entered to win two free passes to the 2013 Austin Food & Wine Fest if you fill out this survey about your experience over the weekend. So much more satisfying (and potentially rewarding) than complaining to the Yelp gods!

· Austin Food & Wine Festival [Yelp]
· The Best Drunk Fried Chicken in Austin [Chow]
· The Good, The Bad, The Dust [CultureMap Austin]
· In Review: the Austin Food & Wine Festival [TxMo]
· Austin Food & Wine Festival: Was It Worth $250 [Statesman]

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