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?