NBC 5 Responds

Ticketholders demand answers after beer festival delayed for four years

The Chicago Beer Classic was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Four years later, ticketholders are furious they can't get refunds or confirmation the event will be rescheduled

NBC Universal, Inc.

Sunshine, beer and Soldier Field. It’s a combination that made the Chicago Beer Classic a very popular craft beer festival in 2019, but four years after the follow-up was postponed, ticketholders are still left in the dark.

When the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those holding tickets were told it would be rescheduled, or they’d get a refund. Four years later- they say they haven’t heard anything.

NBC 5 Responds investigator PJ Randhawa tracked down the festival organizers and got answers about the future of the event and the long delay.

Rich Luberda had a blast at the 2019 edition of the event, and was looking forward to going again.

“Walking through the tunnel, walking out of the field… not many people get to experience this place unless you're a Bears player,” Luberda said of walking out of the tunnel and onto Soldier Field.

Luberda and his son enjoyed the 2019 Chicago Beer Classic so much, Luberda could hardly wait to take  his future son in law the next year. He paid $150 for three tickets. But the pandemic put those plans on hold

“I got an e-mail in late April saying, hey, it's been postponed. not cancelled, postponed,” said Luberda.

Ever since, Luberda says there’s been radio silence from Lou Dog Events, the company behind the festival.

“There's no answers to emails or responses to phone calls and those types of things. And I do believe that, you know, the, the sponsor got sick of hearing those types of things and turned off the ability to post comments,” said Luberda.

Eventually the company’s website was shut down and complaints began piling up with the Better Business Bureau from others like Luberda who called the company’s silence “awful and disappointing”.

“There's 8000 other people that are out the same amount of money I am, which is leads to millions of dollars and they can't get answers. And I think that's what really bothers me the most is not necessarily the money, but the lack of visibility for four years,” said Luberda.

NBC 5 Responds was able to get in touch with the owner of Lou Dog Events, Josh Seago, recently seen promoting his festivals on a website called Porch Drinking. He declined to go on camera, but he told us it’s been difficult to reschedule the event because there hasn’t been a time slot available in Soldier Field's schedule.

He says he didn’t want to settle for a different venue, and is planning on bringing the event back in 2025, a desire Luberda shares even as he awaits word on what happened to his money.

“I open my e-mail every day hoping that I get the notification that 'the event's back on and here's the date, here's your ticket.' That has not happened yet,” said Luberda.

And four years of silence have made Luberda skeptical.

“Thankfully there's a lot of other events out there that you can go and attend, but this was a really nice one,” said Luberda.

The event organizer says once the event is rescheduled, everyone who purchased tickets will be notified through email. If they are unable to attend, they can request a refund at that time.

Soldier Field officials did not respond to a request for comment from NBC Chicago.

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