The organisers of London’s Bloc Festival have issued an apology after the event was called off on its first day, citing bad weather conditions for the abrupt cancellation, Music Week has reported.
Taking place at temporary East End event space The London Pleasure Gardens, the Bloc Festival got off to a bad start following complaints from attendees about extensive queues getting into the festival and long waits to access individual tents on site, while reports of over-crowding for such acts as Orbital and Snoop Dogg – who subsequently didn’t appear on stage - caused concern for a number of fans. However, the Met police, who brought proceedings to a close at around 1am on Saturday morning (July 7th) blamed the rain for the cancellation.
A Met spokesperson told Dummy: “The decision to close the venue was the festival organiser’s – though the Met were there to advise on the implications of either staying open or closing.
“The problem stemmed from rain, and people hiding under cover during the showers, creating huge ‘pinch-points’. [This created the issues], rather than any over-ticketing.”
Music Week sources at the event noted huge over-crowding problems, which escalated as people started to arrive straight from work at around 8pm. Eye-witnesses also claim that at one stage, barriers were rushed by frustrated ticket-holders.
Snoop Dogg, the headliner of the first night, did not appear on stage.
A new statement from organisers on the Bloc website reads:
‘We are currently gathering information about Friday night's events. We are also working to ensure that everyone will be refunded for their tickets.
Please bear with us while we do this.
Thanks to all of you, as well as the many artists and crew who travelled across the world to come to Bloc - we are so sorry that we couldn't deliver the experience we had planned.
And thanks so much to the event control, security, stewards, police and public who worked together to ensure that no one came to harm during the peaceful evacuation.
This is far and away the most important result of the night.
For those of you who are frustrated and angry - we hear you. For those sending love and support - thank you.
More news soon.
The Bloc team x’
However, the initial message posted on the blockweekend.com homepage, which didn't contain an apology, stated:
‘By now everyone will have heard that Bloc 2012 was closed due to crowd safety concerns. We are all absolutely devastated that this happened, but the safety of everyone on site was paramount. Given the situation on the ground, we feel that it was the right decision to end the show early.’
London Pleasure Gardens has also issued the following statement: ‘At 00:45 on Saturday morning, following advice from the Metropolitan Police, Bloc was subject to a controlled shut down due to crowd safety issues. Egress from the site was carefully managed and nobody was harmed throughout the process. By 0200 the site was clear.
The decision to cancel the event’s second day was taken to ensure public safety as a measure against the potential for more overcrowding.
The BT River of Music Africa stage, which will be using a completely different site layout and is not affected by the same issues, will be going ahead as planned on Sat 21st and Sun 22nd July. For more information and tickets, please see www.btriverofmusic.com
Other forthcoming events include the Art of Dark Garden Party on July 14th and Carnaval Del Pueblo, Europe’s largest latin festival, on the 18th August, as well as the Last Mile Festival, a programme of special events during the Olympic Games from 28th July – 12th August & 29th August – 8th September.’
Garfield Hackett and Debs Armstrong, co-directors of LPG, said: ‘We are hugely disappointed that Bloc Festival had to close early last night and has been cancelled today. We are fully investigating what happened and will provide further information when we are in a position to do so. We thank our staff for dealing with the issue in a manner which ensured that the site was cleared safely.’
All ticket refund requests should be addressed directly to Bloc (www.blocweekend.com).
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