/ Travel & Leisure

Festivals cancelled – who’s rained on your parade?

What comes to mind when you think of festivals? Music, drink, fun and friends? How about floods, queues and cancellations? The east London electronic music festival Bloc 2012 was cancelled over the weekend.

With headline acts Snoop Dogg and Orbital, the Bloc festival was always going to be a popular event. But it seems that the festival, held in the Pleasure Gardens at the Royal Victoria Docks, was a bit too popular.

Just after midnight last Friday the festival was called off with police marshalling a safe evacuation. The cancellation, which continued on to the event’s second day, was apparently due to overcrowding. The organiser said in an official statement:

‘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.’

Bloc suffers from over-crowding

Everything from over-ticketing to floods have been blamed, with the Metropolitan police claiming that ‘people hiding under cover during the showers’ created huge ‘pinch-points’ and thus overcrowding.

Whatever the case, the huge crowds on the small 60,000 metre-squared site certainly didn’t make for a festival-like atmosphere. NME’s Louis Pattison, who was at the event, commented:

‘The site was far too small for the numbers of punters who’d got in – all the tents were full with large queues outside, so festival-goers had nowhere to go but add to the queues.’

‘Queue’ appears to be the word of the night, with the allegedly over-subscribed event leading to most attendees being unable to get into the tents to see the acts. And when festival goers were finally told to leave, queues for public transport were there to meet them. Overcrowding on buses left many with no other option but to walk home, and let’s just say that the Royal Victoria Docks isn’t the easiest part of London to get home from after midnight.

What refunds are you entitled to?

Soon after angry festival goers took their disappointment to Twitter using the #Bloc hashtag. Thankfully the event’s organisers have promised refunds for the £55 per day tickets, bought through the unfortunately-named ticketing agency ‘Crowdsurge’. As for the hassle and cost of transport to get there and back – you’ll be out of pocket.

And Bloc wasn’t the only festival to be cancelled this weekend, with the Leeds MFEST closed due to flooding, and the same fate for the finale of the (thankfully free) Peterborough music and arts festival.

So, if a festival is cancelled, what are you entitled to? As you can read in our guide to buying tickets, you are entitled to a full refund of at least the face value of the ticket. However, you may have to swallow the cost for all the extra fees charged, such as booking and postage fees.

Have you ever attended an event only to have it cancelled, whether due to Britain’s wet weather, over-crowding or another reason? Did you get a full refund?


Basically the only thing that comes to mind when I think of festivals is noise – dislike noise – so I don’t usually go. The last “festival” I went to was a Scout Jamboree at Gilwell Park in around 1958 – A celebration of Baden Powell’s 50 year anniversary of the very first scout camp in 1908 – Met a great number of interesting people from all over the world.

Tom says:
9 July 2012

Great, thanks for that one Rich.


Tom –
Actually it was very impressive – around 50,000 (I think) attended from all over the world – The camp-fire singsong was totally uplifting with so many singing in unison – knowing that all had the same ideals. Not a single fight or argument – no drunks – no drugs . In fact the Evening News published a special edition – but sadly I never bought a copy – even though I was pictured in the crowd on the front page (I thought I could get one at my newsagent.), Somewhat different from the usual festivals of today.

Nu_Rave_is says:
10 July 2012

I look forward to the next Jamboree, when all 15,000 Bloc attendees turn up on on your recommendation.

Scouting whistle possey in da house! Scream if you want a Dubstep Enthusiast Activity Badge!

Brap Brap! (Then help an old lady across the road)



What are you raving about?? The next jamboree will in 2058 – possibly you won’t be here.



By 2058, this chap will probably be complaining about young people that cannot be bothered to write in comprehensible English. 🙂

I’ll skip the festivals and carry on enjoying orchestral concerts. There is a better choice of seats nowadays.

Nu_Rave_is says:
11 July 2012


U boyz r so rite. Totes might not b round c*m 2058. Tho if I am my zimmer frame will b bustin out some bare moves 2 sum bangin bass – ya feel me?

Still, at we’ve the Proms season at the moment. Although as usual I feel Grieg has been under represented. There’s more to Edvard then his Piano Concerto in A Minor, eh chaps?! Lol.


I tend to agree, though it’s music composed for Peer Gynt that seems to be over-exposed, though this has helped give many an introduction to Grieg.

I might pay a visit to the Proms next year and find out what festivals are about. 🙂

Tom says:
9 July 2012

I was at the festival, it was a disaster from start to finish. I left the DLR at Pontoon dock at 7.30 and immediately joined the enormous queue to get in, which segued into an even bigger queue once inside. Pressure at the entrance was such that as I approached the desks, to finally enter the site, everyone with a paper ticket was let in. This was around 90 minutes after I arrived at Pontoon dock.

Once inside, it was impossible to enter any of the stages without a