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LouFest vendors disappointed by last-minute cancellation

ST. LOUIS – Music fans were disappointed after LouFest was canceled days before it was set to begin. Vendors who were part of the music celebration spent Wednesday counting up their losses.

Alex Donley, co-owner of Gioia’s Deli, learned the bad news early Wednesday morning.

“I went completely into crisis mode,” he said.

The deli was crowded as usual; unfortunately, the walk-in refrigerator was also crowded with an extra 700 pounds of pork ordered for LouFest.

Donley estimated the cancellation would cost his business about $5,000. But there was a silver lining in the dark cloud: the restaurant community was calling offering storage space.

“Just from this morning ‘til now the amount of outpouring of support we’ve gotten from other restaurants has really saved us,” Donley said.

The owner of Steve’s Hotdogs and Burgers offered Gioia’s help even though he has an extra 2,000 hotdogs for LouFest on-hand.

Event organizers blamed financial problems and potentially bad weather on the cancellation.

At PokeDoke restaurant, owner Andrew Shih purchased two booths this year and ordered extra equipment.

“I would definitely like my money back,” he said.

Shih said it would not be such a problem if concert organizers had just given vendors more notice.

“If we would have known a week ahead of what we found out this morning a lot of things wouldn’t have been ordered,” he said.

The Schlafly brand had thousands of special beer cans made, as well as LouFest-specific items to giveaway, such as beach balls, t-shirts, and water bottles. Schlafly management said anyone with a ticket can get a free beer can this weekend and a discount to the upcoming Hop in the City event.

“It’s so disappointing,” said Lo Dugan, a Schlafly spokesperson. “It really is a hit to the St. Louis community.”

Arch Apparel is also planning a gettogether with other vendors as well as a party this weekend for disgruntled LouFest concert-goers.