Bloc launch full investigation into festival shut down
Organisers appeal for witnesses to the events on Friday night
Chris Swindells - 10 July 2012
As we reported
on the early hours of Saturday morning the weekend event at the London Pleasure Gardens in Royal
Victoria Docks was shut down with police and security ushering people to the exit. Many had been unable to enter
the venue after 11pm and those inside were 'locked out' of many of the main tents and stages. Snoop Dogg's
main stage performance was cancelled and the decision was made not to reopen for the following day's (Saturday) event.
The Bloc Weekend team have made this updated statement:
"We wanted to reiterate that we have launched an investigation into the events of Friday night. To that end we have opened an email address to which we would like you to submit any information you think may be relevant. We are keen to hear from you so we can build the most accurate picture and report of what happened. As ever, you guys are at the heart of what we do so please drop us a line with any comments on firstname.lastname@example.org
Our primary concern has always been the safety and enjoyment of those attending Bloc. This is why we acted swiftly on the advice of our health and safety team who were on site on Friday evening. It was a decision that saddened the crew who have staged this festival with great success over many years.
However, the safety of those attending is our paramount concern at all times. As we have previously said, our heartfelt thanks go out to all involved in the peaceful and safe evacuation.
We would also like to make it clear that we are deeply sorry for all of the frustration and disappointment this situation has caused all of you. No one is more gutted about it than us.
Please do continue to check the site, our facebook page and follow us on twitter for further updates including information on refunds.
The Bloc team x"
Attendees have contested that the 60,000 square metre site on the waterside docklands struggled to cope with the large crowds, and that the poor infrastructure and security teams didn't help the situation. More than 1,000 ticket holders were denied entry to the event before it was shut down by police at approximately 12:45am.
Metropolitan Police have since released a statement which said: “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.”
Festival goers have denied the claims made by the Met Police that the weather was a factor, instead pointing to the fact much of the new site was either incomplete or closed. Some people have accused organisers and police of a cover up, due to the venue being one of the many London Festival events and with the Olympics not far away they can't admit the venue is not ready for the large crowds. Thus far there is very little evidence to support this accusation.
There are currently no details of when the Bloc Festival investigation will be completed and
if festival goers will be receiving a full refund. As always follow us on Facebook and Twitter
for the latest updates.
Amon Tobin, DOOM, Joker and Mos Def were all billed to play Friday July 6 and Orbital, Gary Numan and Flying Lotus, amongst others, scheduled for Saturday 7 July. Weekend Bloc tickets, priced at £99, had sold out in advance of the event, as had the £55 Friday day tickets.
One Virtual Festivals' user, Gvantsa Chkuaseli, commented: "It was awful! the worst ever event! First was nearly crushed to death at the entrance gates, where I waited for 3 hours and then once I entered the venue I found even more queues at every venue and no DJs! A total rip off! I demand my money back plus compensation for the moral damage!"
Another, Louis Weiner from London, said: "I stood in the queue for two and a half hours. Once you were thirty metres from the tented entrance the crush was pretty terrifying. People kept pushing forward from so far back that there was nothing nobody could do at the front. People were calling to security that they had a serious problem but pleas were ignored. I'm surprised there were no serious injuries or worse. Suddenly the barriers broke and security panicked shouting at peolple to stay back. Impossible. At this point I feared for my life as my foot went from underneath me but I spawned it and was surged through with the crowd. I was met with harried security and confused wristband suppliers who were handing them out willy Molly just to get people past the main gate"
Were you at Bloc Weekend 2012? What were your experiences? We want to know your thoughts on the festival and organisation, so please leave your comments below.