Last Wednesday night marked the opening night of Cavalia. I was looking forward to the show situated alongside the 5 Freeway in Burbank. I didn’t make it. I followed the signs to the show and found myself in a Sartre-esque parking nightmare.
After spending over 25 minutes in a queue to get to the parking lot, I found the lot was full. I saw no event parking attendants, as the only people I saw were wearing vests signifying them as "police." I was instructed to "follow the car in front of you. You will have a good walk back, but once the road curves to the left there will be a big parking lot available to you."
I followed the car ahead of me. There did seem to be a lot on the right that had no parking attendants, only ticket holders circling madly (and in great frustration) only to find no available spots. I continued following the driver in front of me.
Sadly that driver ended up at the on-ramp for the northbound 5 Freeway. Catching that mistake I continued on. I found myself near the Burbank Holiday Inn. There was no big lot (unless you count the Bank of America parking lot with huge signs telling you not to park there). I parked on the street and started to survey the situation.
Given where I was and where Cavalia was (not to mention that by now it was 8:05 p.m., more than 35 minutes after I arrived and five minutes after the start time of the show), I calculated that I was at least two miles from the venue and there was no way I’d make it. And there was no way this show queen was walking that far. As if anyone should be expected to do so in the first place.
Cirque du Soleil can handle parking efficiently whenever their tent comes to town, so what happened here? In Los Angeles of all places parking should be of paramount importance. This was an unmitigated disaster. I witnessed people running from spots more than a mile away from the venue in an effort to get to the show on time (or close to on time.) If you know the area, there is no simple way to get there. Overpasses and limited access make this location complicated.
With some ticket prices exceeding $200 each, founder Normand Latourelle has a responsibility to make attending Cavalia convenient and not like we are all participants in Survivor: Burbank.
I gave up. I did not attend the show. Going to the theatre should be an escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. There was no escape on opening night. I don’t know what time the show actually started (I heard at 8:20 it still had not begun.) Though this self-described "magical encounter between human and horse" has reportedly been seen by more than 2.5 million people, I’m not one of them.