Creamfields 2012 refund announcement delayed

Organisers plead for patience after festival was abandoned

Creamfields 2012 refund announcement delayed

Chris Eustace - 30 August 2012

UPDATE 30/8/12: Creamfields organisers released an amendment to their statement today, with any announcement on refunds now delayed until a later date, though it's promised that this will be "as soon as possible."

The new statement reads: "For those people waiting to hear back regarding refunds, we apologise that we’ve not been able to release any further information on this as yet. We are pulling all the information together as fast as we can but its taking a little longer than anticipated – there are several parties involved in this process and we need ensure we have all the details needed. Rest assured this is a top priority for us and we will come back to you as soon as possible, please bear with us."

The likes of Groove Armada, Deadmau5, Richie Hawtin and Tiesto were due to play on Sunday, but after overnight rain and flooding at the festival’s Daresbury, Cheshire site, people with Sunday tickets were not admitted and weekend campers were evacuated, with the event cancelled on Health and Safety grounds.

A statement on the Creamfields website read:"In response to a number of enquiries we have received, firstly a refund announcement with full details of what people need to do will follow within the next 24 hours, however, in the meantime and to answer some of your questions here are the circumstances that led towards the cancellation of Sunday’s event, we hope that you can see that this decision required extensive assessment of the overall event site whilst at the same time implementing an evacuation plan. Once again the safety and welfare of all those on the campsites was paramount and we are sorry that it took some time before information was relased to those, but this was necessary so a controlled exit from the festival could be put in place. If these systems had not been implemented it was highly probable that a very large number of people would attempt to exit the site before a revised transport plan could be put in place.

Once it became clear that we had a potential show stop we announced that day ticket holders should not travel to Daresbury as this would compound an already dangerous situation.

We also informed artists who were due to play that day not to travel and wait for  further instructions, but unfortunately some of those took to social networks to say the event was cancelled. This caused confusion and contributed to an already stressful situation to our customers, for this we are very sorry.

There were provisions in place to deal with issues caused by severe weather however, with the unprecedented amount of rain that fell it just wasn’t enough to prevent severe damage to various big infrastructures on site.

We are also desperately sorry that we had to abandon the event, but below you will see how that decision came about and hopefully you will understand the difficult decision we had to make. This whole experience will provide us with valuable lessons for the future and we hope that what happened has not diminished your love for Creamfields too much. It was regrettable, but we believe that serious injury was avoided by closing the event.

Anyone with a complaint please email info@cream.co.uk"

They also published a timeline of how events unfolded on the site:

"3am to 6am – Event overnight Manager closes several structures on site including AMP Arena due to flooding. Emergency contingency plans put in place for welfare of customers are large number of campers requiring shelter. Emergency meeting of Emergency Liaison Team is convened.

6am – following 2 weeks worth of rainfall overnight from Saturday night through to Sunday morning the event’s overnight safety officer started a full assessment of the site

6.30am – The Groove Armada Presents, Cream and Super You&Me arenas are deemed unfit to use on the Sunday. The weight of the mud that had built up overnight had caused the pit barrier to move which compromised its integrity to safely deal with a large audience and a main supporting king pole had also sunk in the Cream Arena.  Both the North and South bridges flooded cutting off campers from the west of the festival site.

7am – event management met with Police to discuss the flash flood and whether the event can continue.  Certain areas of the site are now under 1.5m of water.

7am – the festival director informed of the site assessment and the concerns of the emergency services about the viability of the event continuing.

7.30am – The Emergency Liason Team meet again and the event site is classified as a ‘Serious Incident’ by the emergency services. A large number of customers are now trying to leave the site.9.30am – Following the site assessment, and due to the flooding issues in and around the site, the decision was made to close the event to those people arriving on site with a Sunday day ticket of which a further 5000 people were expected to arrive that day.  This message was posted across Cream’s networks and various radio stations who broadcast this on their hourly bulletins.

9.30am to 12pm – A continuous assessment was made of the site by the Festival Director to determine what options were available to operate the festival for those still on site, however, several other areas of the festival arena were also unusable with some emergency exits and access routes remaining flooded or un-passable resulting in emergency vehicles not being able to access certain parts of the festival site.


Other infrastructure had also been damaged or was unable to be safely assessed due to the flooding. Crucially and a key consideration in the cancellation of the event was the flooding of the north and south bridges that connect the majority of campers to the arena. A more detailed assessment was only able to be taken at 12pm when the water level had lowered enough for the damage to be assessed. Once this was confirmed as unusable, it was deemed safer by the festival director to ensure that a proper egress plan could be safely implemented before informing customers that the event was cancelled.  Several alternative exit routes needed to be implemented to allow 50,000 people exit safely and this exit plan had to be in place prior to any announcement taking place.
   
12pm – The main south exit is also flooded and alternative exit routes via Daresbury Lane have to be implemented to allow people access to the car parks to travel home. 
   
1.00pm – Despite every effort having been made the decision was formally made by the Festival Director, daytime safety officer, event head of security and members of the emergency services to close the final day of the event in the interest of Health & Safety.  With a further downpour expected on Sunday evening into the early hours of Monday morning, those campers already on site were urged to leave site, and the egress of customers was managed safely and securely with help given to those needing vehicle assistance.   Free shuttle bus services were implemented throughout the day and night from site to Manchester, Liverpool, Runcorn and Warrington and pick up collection points kept clear for anyone being collected by family or friends.  This information was posted across Cream networks, Radio stations and distributed to information hubs in the campsites and also issued to event staff to communicate to customers on site.
 
6pm - For those people unable to leave site due to having fixed travel arrangements, those camped in severely flooded areas were moved to drier ground and those whose tents were severely damaged were offered new tents or the option to stay in tangerine fields overnight.  Food and drink concessions were kept open throughout the day and night and warm up tents were installed at 2 locations to allow campers to take shelter."

Fans were also asked to keep checking the Creamfields Facebook Page for further updates.


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