Event organizers investigating upcoming Madison Taco Festival with souring reputation

MADISON, Wis. — Event organizers with Breese Stevens Field in Madison say they’re investigating an upcoming Taco Festival that has drawn complaints in several cities it has visited in recent weeks.

The event, marketed as a festival featuring local taco providers as well as offering margaritas and other drinks, has led to complaints in Buffalo, Des Moines, Fargo and other cities its visited. Complaints center primarily on customers not getting what they paid for, or being disappointed with the quality of the food provided.

While the festival is now just 10 days away, growing concerns online have the hosts concerned too.

Big Top Events, the company responsible for many of the games, concerts and fairs at Breese Stevens, say they’re looking at their options.

Over the last week, concerns about this promoter’s past events have been brought to us,” said Big Top COO Conor Coloia. “Since then, we’ve been kind of investigating, doing our due diligence and making sure we avoid this at Breese Stevens Field.”  

Coloia says Big Top agreed to a contract with the event’s host, AZ Food Festivals, months ago.

Our responsibility for that event is to give them use of the field, use our ticket system, and pour beer,” he said. “It’s not like one of the events we’d run, like a concert, a cheese curd festival, or one of the soccer games.”

AZ Food Festivals did not respond to a request for comment.

“We’ve probably booked 500 events,” Coloia said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had an event in our six year’s now of running this facility where it’s reached this level of concern. So no. This is kind of a unicorn compared to what we’re used to.”

Coloia says Big Top is working with legal counsel to determine next steps. 

 I think we’ve got a long history of running really good events here at Breese Stevens Field,” he said. “People enjoy their time here. We’re going to make sure one way or another that we keep that going. We’re not going to let this potential event tarnish what we do here.”

While it’s uncertain what’s next for the festival, Coloia says anyone concerned ahead of time is able to ask for a refund.