Escape From Martinifest

If you think Clear Channel is out of the event promotion business, think again. The radio conglomerate recently sponsored the “Martinifest” in Milwaukee.

The event went well – that is, if you don’t mind an evening of fights, puke and trash.

Clear Channel Radio organized the semi-formal event at the Milwaukee Art Museum February 11th. Participants paid $30 for unlimited martinis.

“Hindsight is 20-20. … It was probably too cheap,” Kerry Wolfe, a local programming director for Clear Channel, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

People threw up, passed out, were injured and fought each other, the paper said. Four men climbed a bronze sculpture of a goddess figure called “Standing Woman.”

“They were standing on it, grabbing the boobs, and somebody was just taking pictures with a cell phone,” a bystander told the Journal Sentinel.

Several vendors reportedly ran out of food, drink mix and vodka early and began pouring shots of straight vodka. Restaurants paid $400 each for their booths to display their fancy drinks but instead were hit with “people, people, people” wanting one more shot of the fire water.

“We were hoping for a little sophistication, maybe,” a bartender for the Wicked Hop told the paper. “People were shoving their martini glasses in my face and not wanting to talk about the product. … They were just worked up about getting their booze.”

“We were sardined in,” a visitor added. “People, boy, they wanted their martinis.”

A beverage manager for The Knick said the event was “a phenomenal idea” with “poor planning.”

Artworks had to be taken off display for inspection. One patron said it was so packed that her “whole calf is one big, nasty bruise.”

“In our five years of experience, we have never had any problems with rental events,” David Gordon, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “It was not an appropriate event to be held in the museum, and we have reviewed our procedures for bookings.”

The museum’s statement said it had been “assured by Clear Channel that capacity would be limited to 1,400” and that it “was clear that the assurance was broken.”

Kerry Wolfe said the museum provided information indicating the capacity was 2,175. The museum told the Journal Sentinel it never provided such a number.