Update: Detroit Sushi Festival Promoter Issues Refunds After Outcry

August 28, 2018, 1:30 PM by  Alan Stamm

Squawking works this time, according to follow-up posts at a Facebook page for ticket buyers unhappy with last Friday's inaugural Detroit Sushi Festival at Eastern Market.

"I was able to receive a full refund," says Matt Gwast of Detroit, who created the page last weekend. He had contacted the promoter at


Gwast adds:

Confirmation was received through EventBrite and [will take] approximately seven business days until the credit appears. Shamrock Events LLC replied ". . . We have refunded multiple people already and have absolutely no problem continuing to do so. . . ."

I have had several communications with Shamrock Events LLC and feel that they are committed to refunding those people who request it.    

Others got refunds for half the $40 ticket cost. Gwast replies to one: "I was offered half and did not accept."

Stephanie Simmons, also a Detroiter, posts:

They emailed me back within a few hours, stating they are sorry that I was unhappy and credited me half of what I paid. I feel this is fair, as they have costs to cover regardless of how unsuccessful the event was.

Shamrock was created in February by Spencer Michael Hicks of Pinckney, Mich., a state business registration database shows.

Original article, Monday afternoon:

Instead of enjoing sushi rolls at a new Detroit event, some ticket buyers feel they were rolled.

The first Detroit Sushi Festival last Friday evening at Eastern Market proved to be more popular than organizers or vendors could handle, angering dozens -- perhaps hundreds -- of $44 ticket buyers.



Bethany Moore of WXYZ reports:

People are enraged and demanding answers after a pricey sushi festival in Detroit left some with long lines and no sushi at all. The Detroit Sushi Festival . . . was criticized by many attendees for a "terrible experience." . . .

More than 50 negative reviews were posted on the event's Facebook page, with many complaining and demanding their money back.

There was no response from Shamrock Events, the company that put on the festival.

"It seemed like over capacity," Colby Renner of Plymouth tells the broadcaster in the video below.

An event participant, Sushi Hana of Bloomfield Hills, apologized the next day on Facebook for "a system that could not guarantee the best quality."

In hindsight, yellow or red flags are visible:

  • Shamrock Events LLC was formed last Feb. 20 by Spencer Michael Hicks of Pinckney, Mich., its state incorporation filing shows. 
  • It has two to 10 employees and an office in Chicgao, the firm's brief LinkedIn profile says.
  • It created a Facebook page promoting the Detroit event July 10, six weeks before the festival. There are only four posts.
  • A vendors list at the event website lists 10 restaurants and one food truck (none from Detroit), with a promise of "more to come."  
  • Promotional language is highly seasoned: "a premiere sushi tasting event" . . . "the finest vendors in town!" . . . "a first of its kind event inspired and carried out by local sushi enthusiasts with the help of Michigan's top vendors of Japanese cuisine!"

The event was organized by an outside firm paying to use an Eastern Market shed, but image damage extends to the Detroit landmark.

"We have been to various events held at Eastern Market," posts Jamey McCloskey of Wayne, "but won't be returning because we don't want to risk having the same experience that occurred with the sushi fest."

Alma Cruz of Detroit feels similarly about the host site. "I went based on the good reputation of events that Eastern Market Corporation has there, which are usually fantastic," she posts Monday. "But this makes me hesitate. . . . Eastern Market should put pressure on Shamrock Events to come clean and issue a refund for such a horrible event."

These are among other howls on social media, including at an unofficial Facebook page called "Detroit Sushi Fest Refund Festival:"

  • Have never been to an event so over-sold and so poorly organized. Was nothing short of a complete scam. -- John Takacs, Northville
  • Some vendors ran out of food. -- Kelly Sheffer, Bighton
  • Basically paid $40 to stand in horribly unorganized lines for three hours only to get five bites of sushi. Total clusterfuck and waste of money. Honestly, refunds should be given. . . . This whole event was the epitome of poor planning. -- Marie Pinch, Troy
  • What a rip-off! I could go to a restaurant and have way more than five little pieces of a roll without spending an hour in all the lines . . . for entrance, food and drinks. Organizers of this event should be ashamed. -- Ilona Alaniya
  • Total ripoff. These guys are scammers! . . . They stole money from folks and gave them a few pieces of sushi, much of which didn't even have real crab or even fish. -- Phoebe Patricia
  • The worst! Disputed the credit card charge, so lets see if these Shamrock scammers fight I bet not. -- Chuck Schilling, West Bloomfield
  • Detroit Sushi a Fest was a complete failure. This event was a joke. Waited in line for an hour to get in and waited in lines to get sushi. . . . Extremely overpriced. . . . You need to refund everything. Shame on you for deleting posts from the people you took so much money from.-- Ryan and Tifanie Braydyn
  • Was the worst event I’ve ever been to. It cost $88 total for two . . . which got us about four bites each. The event was grossly oversold, crowded and a total waste of time. We had to go out for dinner after we waited in line for two hours and got almost nothing to eat. -- Jody Lynn
  • This event was absolutely not what it was advertised to be and was a waste of money. . . . There were like 12 vendors and they all had average sushi that you could get anywhere. . . . I bought two VIP tickets . . . so we could get in early and eat sushi before the crowds and some sushi wasn't even ready when the doors opened! -- Nikki King
  • This is one of the worst events I've ever been to: an hour to get in; long, convoluted lines for sushi. Shame on the group that hosted this. You should really stop throwing events. I'm embarrassed for you. -- Jessica Ann
  • Very disappointed in this event. We left immediately after getting our six tiny items." -- Jamey McCloskey, Wayne
  • The amount of things wrong with it don’t fit into a Facebook post. . . . [I paid] 40 bucks for a piece of fried chicken with teriyaki sauce on it, a chicken skewer and a California roll. -- Alexei Doncov

A video posted on Facebook by Arthur Nagorski  of Roichester shows last Friday's blocks-long lines.




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