We're Weaving the Yarn of What Really Happened at Wool & Folk 2023

The 2023 Wool & Folk event was basically the knitting version of Fyre Festival — as people share their experiences, others wonder what happened.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Oct. 26 2023, Published 11:22 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Wool & Folk 2023 was a crafting event that turned into a disaster, reminiscent of the infamous Fyre Festival.
  • The event suffered from poor organization, last-minute venue changes, and inadequate crowd control, causing chaos and frustration among vendors and attendees.
  • Issues including a lack of load-in instructions, overcrowding, muddy conditions, and accessibility problems led to a public outcry on social media.
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We all thought that the Fyre Festival was a once-in-a-lifetime failure of an event, and even though a second one is actually happening, a “Fybre Festival” may have stolen its thunder. The Wool & Folk 2023 event was such a massive failure that vendors and yarn-loving attendees shared their horrifying experiences all over social media.

While many of us had crazy FOMO for not attending, we’re now counting our lucky stars that we weren’t there. Even the organizer has since issued an “apology,” although many of the vendors don’t buy it for a second based on what they went through. So what really happened at Wool & Folk 2023?

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Wool & Folk 2023 was a poorly organized event from the get-go.

Before it even began, Redditors on the Craftsnark channel had an inkling that it would be a nightmare. But even they couldn’t predict how disastrous the event would turn out to be. When people bought their tickets, which were $45 for early birds and $50 for general attendees, they were told the event would be in an orchard with music, food, small vendors, and networking opportunities.

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Vendors also paid loads upfront to get exposure to the fancy craft-enthused community. But six weeks before Wool & Folk, the organizers changed the venue to Foreland in the Catskills. It’s a hybrid outdoor-indoor space typically used for weddings, artist studios, and other private events. One Redditor explained that Foreland is “known for being poor members of the community and exceptionally exclusionary and money-focused.”

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The event was set to have 3,000 attendees, while Foreland has a maximum capacity of 500 people, so it was already doomed to fail. Apparently, the last-minute change in venue occurred because an organizer named Felicia failed to get the proper permit. Days before the event, the Wool & Folk Instagram shared parking information with several lots and shuttles about a quarter-mile from the venue. Comments on the post have since been turned off due to what really happened.

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On the day of the event, Wool & Folk’s poor planning was evident.

Basically, the event's poor planning and bad weather caused an extremely chaotic, scary, and overwhelming Wool & Folk 2023. Vendors weren't given load-in times or maps of where their booths would be.

One vendor shared on Reddit: “There was no centralized vendor check-in. You had to track down a person you've never met before and hope they could tell you where to go. They had a hand-drawn map. I had to double-check my placement several times and when questioned why this did not look like a 10x20 I was told that I only paid for a 10x15 booth.”

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They also had to carry hundreds of pounds of yarn from their trailer, about a quarter-mile up a hill from the venue, because there was no load-in area. Imagine doing this in the rain on a grassy hill. It was a pretty dangerous situation for many people.

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One of the biggest issues, however, was the crowd control throughout the day. As people continued showing up, the indoor and outdoor areas were completely packed and muddy. Although Wool & Folk claimed to be an accessible and ADA-compliant event, many people with disabilities couldn't fit through aisles or get through the mud. A random fifth floor was nearly inaccessible to everyone because there was only one elevator.

The music was also overwhelmingly loud, so you can imagine that anyone with any sort of sensitivity to sound and crowds would be prone to a panic attack. We sure would be! Luckily, one Redditor put a list together of all the vendors (the official event website only has their logos without business names or links) who suffered at this year’s Wool & Folk, so we encourage everyone to support them!

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