Review in today's "Independent"

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Review in today's "Independent"

Post  peterwales on Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:39 am

Largely positive and interesting review in above-named newspaper; I didn't go as I didn't like the idea of having to drive and then no camping-and I didn't like this "sell" of "no branding, no sponsorship", and I'm glad now I didn't go although a friend who went said the music was all great, but as everybody else has said the car-park exiting was awful and took the "shine " out of a great day.
This really needs to be a 3-day type festival or even have a one day but with camping laid on. Can't be too difficult to organize, even with the extra toilets needed for the concert site and the camp-site (you've already made enough money out of this, Vince, "flushing" out for a few extra bogs, won't hurt your bank balance too much!). Seems to me the chaos at the car-parks was at best shamefull disrespect to your paying punters and at worse, criminal irresponsibility. Let's just be thankfull people got home allright and there was no major tragedy or incident.
If people can camp overnight, most will be leaving throughout the course of the following day in daylight. Cropredy festival, where I go each year, has about 20,000 people mainly camping, in a largely rural setting with minor roads, etc. but such chaos is normally avoided although there are some delays in getting there and out again. Difference is there is no great rush, especially on the Monday morning/afternoon in broad daylight after the festival has ended.

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good but not really for families

Post  kentcourier on Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:07 pm

It's got to be said it was a great show and altogether it would have been a great day out for the family but for the woeful attitude at the start of the day from the Vince Power marshals and security people who treated us all like shite (to their credit by the middle of the day they'd all but disappeared and we were able to chill out but to start with it did feel like we were entering a prison camp).

We were a group of 12 with the youngest of us only four years old. When we arrived it was starting to rain and our experience went something like this:

Arrive at the car park to have a young bloke in yellow jacket yelling at us like some kind of jumped up screw: "move in! park closer!" he shouts "move along now!" "erm, we're just trying to ghet out of the car" we say "yeah well I've got a festival to get parked up!".

Not welcome then.

Then we get to the entrance and there's a queue for bag checking and it becomes apparent that we can't take our own alcohol in. Kind of fair enough, so I trudge all the way back to the car to offload it.

Back to the queue to get past the bag checkers. Sorry you can't take in those tiny glass tumblers because of health and safety "we have a lot of kids coming" he says, "they are for the kids" I say. Calls over extra large security guy (urgh). Actually he's a nice guy but still sends me back to the car again.

Still no welcome and by this time thinking, it's raining, it's hard to get in, they have my money, doesn't look like they care, should we go home and not bother? Probably.

As I go back in am told there will be no further entry and exit unless it's an emergency. I ask if thunder and lightening constitutes an emergency. "um I think so, but I'm not sure."

Eventually I'm in and reunited with the family. We find a spot to settle down well away from the front because we don't want to the little ones to get squashed. Rain's coming down in bucket loads now, the water-proofs aren't working and the kids are all lying under a bunch of umbrellas trying for dear life to stop them blowing away. Can't see how we are going to get through the day like this if the rain persists (if you've got small kids you'll understand what I'm talking about). Still thinking maybe we should just pack up and go home and give it a miss.

We notice some other people are putting up beach shelters and pop-up tents. We remember that we have a pop up tent in our car. But blood still boiling over, so in a gesture of goodwill towards the security guys, I ask my partner if she doesn't mind going.

Fifteen minutes or so later she's back, with tent. Brilliant. We start putting it up, but within seconds are pounced upon by a group of security guards looking and sounding like they're ready for a brawl on B-Wing: "you can't put that up!" "No tents!" "It states it in the rules! No tents!". Somebody pipes up "It doesn't say no tents it says no camping" "Same thing! Are you trying to being funny!". "Well why no tents then?" we ask "Because we won't know what you're doing in them" he says. "Won't know what we're doing in them?" we say "what sort of thing do you think we'll be doing in them?" This is getting Pythonesque. "People have been coming to festivals for decades and putting up tents" I say "it's part of the joy of attending a festival". "This isn't a festival" the guy says "it's a one day event".....well strike me down, I wanted to point to the screens next to the stage that clearly state 'Hop Farm FESTIVAL 2008' but I figured he might hit me by this point.

By this time I'm thinking that this whole festival, (sorry, event), is a con trick. We've been suckered into Stalag 19 and they want to keep us here all day so they can intimidate us and fleece us for every penny we've got.

It's raining even harder now. Blood almost at boiling over point again I decide to calmly see if I can have a quiet word with the organiser. Get to the gate and ask for the organiser "Can I help?" she says, "Is the organiser here because we've been trying to put up a pop-up tent so we can keep the kids dry and we've been pounced on by a bunch of heavies who say we can't". "they're only trying to do their job" she says and points me to the freindly big guy who seems to be in charge of proceedings. As I reach him he's talking into his radio and is clearly getting orders from above "So you're telling me they can't bring umbrella's in........". The light goes on, certain that this bunch are all over the place and have no idea what they are doing I go back to the group and we put up the tent anyway. I think we can safely say that nobody knows what they are doing, so if we say we're allowed they'll believe us.

So we do. And as it happened nobody troubled us after that. We had a great time. Everybody was freindly, it was a great festival. Yes it would have been fantastic if nobody had needed to put up a tent or a golfing umbrella, but hey, if you have kids you need something when it's tipping it down. And if the sun had been shining nobody would have had a problem. In the end left at 10.45 and only just, by the sound of it, got out in time.

It was the festivalgoers who made it great (and the stall-holders), but the Vince Power bunch and their supposed security and marshalling people made no contribution at all to making people feel welcome. At the front of the programme Vince Power says it's us the people who pay to get in that matter, but the attitude of the people he employed demonstrated that this was just hyperbole and fluff. We won't be coming back.

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Re: Review in today's "Independent"

Post  peterwales on Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:49 pm

Yes, and the above post has just brought back memories of what the London Fleadh festival of Irish music became after the Vince Power organization took over it's running. The Fleadh was a much loved one day festival of loosely based Irish music, which run in Finsbury Park, North London,from the early 90's to the early 2000's- can't remember what year it finally ended, but I saw Neil Young there , with Crazy Horse, in 2001, and it was great- one of the best concerts I can remember, despite the torrential downpour, (it nearly always rained at the Fleadh, allright-you can't blame Vince for that!). But we all noticed the difference when Vince Power took over the festival's running- surly, unpleasant security blokes confiscating any booze at the entry gates, (it may always have been the case that no booze was allowed in, but it was never that strictly, or that unpleasantly enforced); a big mark-up in prices, both in food/drink but in entry prices as well. It all had the feel of a big money operation, and a disrespect to the punters, despite Vince Power's own Irish roots. The Fleadh ended soon after- maybe it had become commercially unviable, maybe it had "run it's course"- I don't know; but it's sad to hear about similar complaints about another one-day festival Vinve Power has now promoted, now being aired.

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