BLOC Weekend Cancelled Amidst Fears Of Over Crowding
9 July 2012
The very first and much awaited London edition of BLOC Weekend, an electronic dance music festival previously held at holiday resorts Pontins and Butlins was cancelled on Friday night only hours into the event, amidst fears of over crowding.
Not only boasting a line up of some of the most innovative and forward thinking acts in the world of electronic and alternative music, it also bravely hosted the event at a brand new site in London's Royal Docklands which included The MS Stubnitz, an 80-metre long former GDR fishing vessel, as one of the stages. As everyone had expected the event sold out and on paper should have been a roaring success.
While the festival’s official twitter channel was until recently largely hyping up events happening on stage, punters on Friday evening were treated to large queues at the all-night event, not only to get into the festival, but also to get into every single area of music.
This meant that those arriving were faced with long crushing queues to get into the event, then to be followed by more to get into any of the enclosed stages. It also made nervous attendees stay within these areas of music in fear of having to join more queues upon leaving.
Only hours into the event, fears arose that over crowding could result in a dangerous incident. Reports suggest that around 12.30am a decision was made by organisers to shut down the festival. When exactly the decision was made is yet unclear, yet police were on site by 11pm evacuating area by area even though headliner Snoop Dogg was yet to go on stage, and the event was due to run to 6am. It was later announced that the second day of the event was also cancelled. It wasn't long before angry attendees took to twitter and facebook to express their disappointment with the hash tag #bloc almost immediately trending on twitter.
There's since been much speculation as to what exactly caused the problems. Faulty scanners allowing people to print out large amounts of "useless" tickets to make their way into the festival was one theory. Others suggest that the event was lacking security in numbers allowing fence jumpers to push capacity up. The most likely however, after witnessing the whole thing myself is that there simply wasn't enough room for the 15,000 people to whom tickets had been sold. The venue, named London Pleasure Gardens seemed poorly arranged, with the three main music areas crammed into a small corner of the site, leaving large spaces in other parts of the site with very little activity.
A police spokesman has also come forward to suggest that the weather had also been a factor, which would link into the theory that if heavy rains had hit the site, the festival couldn't accommodate everyone undercover.
The most up to date statement from BLOC can be seen on their website here. The main question now is whether Baselogic the promoters behind BLOC will be able to to refund all ticket buyers. The future of the event also looks doubtful. A massive shame as until this weekend the festival has had a solid reputation, known particularly for its production and organisation.
The shutdown is also a huge blow for the newly established London Pleasure Gardens. The new open-air venue built on an industrial wasteland by the people behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La area is set to host a wide range of cultural events over the course of the next three years. This was the first major event to be held on its grounds and many have been quick to push the blame on to its organisers for not providing everything it had first promised.