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Eco-friendly festival can’t sustain itself

It was the first New World Festival of Eco-Friendly Science and Technology and quite possibly the last.

The event near the beach in Santa Monica, which had been scheduled to run through Sunday, was shut down abruptly Saturday afternoon.

Its website had promised robots, a petting zoo, six stages of live music and more than 150 exhibits. But the gathering on Saturday looked more like a medium-sized, eco-friendly farmers market.

Howard Mauskopf, the festival’s organizer, said he needed to shut down because so few people had shown up. “We’re in a position where we don’t have the financial ability to continue,” he said, adding that he would have needed eight to 10 times the crowd that was present to make ends meet. He said he is going to try to reimburse food vendors next week.

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“I don’t know why people didn’t come,” he said.

Meanwhile, some event vendors worried that they would not be paid what they were owed.

Rose Faranal, a vendor who sold organic pizzas and chili at the event, said customers purchased food tickets from the festival, which they could redeem at her booth and others. She said she was owed hundreds of dollars, but didn’t know if or how she’d be reimbursed.

“This is what we got paid with,” she said, holding up hundreds of paper slips. “Useless money.”

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Food vendor Shawn Deleo said he knew something was off when the festival began Friday and there was no hot water for food preparation. He also had a stack of paper tickets, and wondered how he would get paid.

“I kind of had a bad feeling from the start,” he said.

Gabriel Canul, a coffee vendor, said he’d never been to an event that was shut down at midday.

He said he didn’t stand to lose much — just a few bananas — but that he was still upset.

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“It’s more of a waste of time,” he said.

Amber Trailer of Torrance opened a bakery three weeks ago and was excited to display her gluten-free, organic goods at the festival.

“I wanted to show what we were doing,” she said before packing up her booth.

Before the festival was closed down, those who showed up munched on organic food, perused recycled art and listened to acoustic music.

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Spiritual healer Tanya Sheikh said she was having a great time, but wondered why more people didn’t attend.

“Everybody else kind of missed out,” she said.

Clothing and jewelry vendor Kate Tevebaugh of Santa Monica said she didn’t think the event was properly marketed — that people didn’t show because they didn’t know it was happening.

“This is a disaster,” she said. “A complete disaster.”

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nicole.santacruz@latimes.com


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