NO FESTIVAL TODAY
I couldn't quite believe what I was reading on Sunday morning when I casually logged on to Twitter to check out what people had to say about Hope and Glory Festival, which took place on Saturday 5th August. Shortly after logging on this tweet appeared which sent me into a deep dive to try and find out if the festival was going to go ahead at all for it's second day!
Fans had been tweeting the bands scheduled to play to let them know the festival was looking unlikely to go ahead and none of the bands appeared to have any official information on what was going on. It was chaos.
Not too long after that at 10.17am on the morning of the festival came a three-word statement, delivered via twitter which read....
What on earth was going on!?
I was aware of various issues on the day; excessive wait times, disorganization, sets being shortened, acts cut from the bill etc. but it soon transpired that it was much worse than all of that. I've given a bit more insight into my personal experience of the festival below;
Saturday 5th August 2017
Dale and I made our way to Liverpool on Saturday morning and our first stop was to pick up the guest-list ticket that Kyle had kindly organized for Dale, I'd already bought a weekend ticket in advance. We arrived at the box office shortly before 12 noon and waited for almost 50 minutes before deciding that we would go and dump our bags off at our accommodation and return later when the queues had calmed down as there had been no movement what so ever and no communication of what was going on until we overheard that the site couldn't be opened as there was still machinery in operation and the public couldn't be let in until it had left.
Bags dumped we headed in town for some lunch to line our stomachs in preparation of the day ahead. We ended up on Bold Street on recommendation of both Tessa who I share my new studio space with and also the taxi driver who dropped us off. We ended up at a Peruvian street food restaurant, which I'll admit was an alien way to start a festival for us but also really good!
We were just about to leave when we got the heads up about the queues being really crazy so we hurried on over and the queues had at least tripled since our visit to the site earlier on in the day. Luckily we were headed to the box office queue, which was a lot smaller but still took over half an hour and felt like a long wait relative to the size. When it was our turn in the queue we both went to the window and Dale had stated he was on the guest-list. We were both given Saturday bands (for free) even though I already had a paid for ticket. We were also given weekend bands when the man behind the desk got confused at our situation, it was quite clear he wasn't able to find the guest list and my paid for ticket was never scanned. 'Man behind the desk' turned out to be Lee O'Hanlon, the festival organiser. Not very organised?
After a very brief bag search and only one member of staff carrying out security checks at the box office entrance that was us in and we were set to enjoy the day. We were initially worried that we might have missed some of the bands but soon realised that the festival was already running 2 hours behind schedule. We nipped to the toilet with a bit of a wait followed by the bar, which took almost 50 minutes to queue in. Not ideal but it was the beginning of the day and we still had all of the bands to look forward to. It was its first year as an official festival after all and there were bound to be some teething problems.
Other issues we encountered included the 'bottleneck' developing in which made it very difficult to get through to the other area of the festival, it felt very cramped and unsafe with tensions rising when people couldn't get through to meet there friends/other halves/family or to see the acts they wanted to see. Dale got stuck at the opposite side from me for well over half an hour after a visit to the bar, which had already included a long wait. It was almost impossible to get though and I was unable to get though to meet him and help out. After that fiasco we decided to stay at the main stage for the rest of the day even though there were a few acts I really wanted to see on the second stage.
There was no official communication throughout the day via any of the social media channels to let people know what was happening or when the bands were set to come on.
Will all this said we made the most of it and enjoyed the music and ended up spending most of the day with a good bunch from Dundee.
Continuing on from our day, it turns out there were many more issues at hand but the thing that stood out for me was the unprofessional manner that the cancellation was dealt with prior to the Saturday and the utter refusal from the organisers to accept any blame. There has been no official email to let revelers know details on how to proceed with getting refunds for an event which was cancelled half way through nor was there an email to let people know the event was cancelled at all. Above this I'm also I'm led to believe that many ticket holders didn't even get in on the day due to overselling. It is also worth noting that the festival officially announced prior to the event taking place that all profits would be going to the victims of the Manchester bombing which now seems not only very unlikely to happen but also a pr scam.
It may well have been salvageable if they could have sucked it up, apologized for the mistakes, dealt with the complaints and safety concerns and made all necessary improvements for day two. However, it was too late for all that so instead they started arguing with and slandering anyone and everyone who had an issue with the festival via twitter (again), including Tim Booth, lead singer of James which was completely unacceptable. I must stress, all of these tweets have came from the official festivals twitter account.
We are currently no further on in terms information on refunds (minus 1 out of the 7 ticket platforms) but if you want a laugh I'd suggest you have a rummage on the @hopeandgloryfes twitter page in the comments and replies, it was a great source of amusement to brighten up a dull day!
You can read their 'official' statement over on facebook through the following link. https://www.facebook.com/HopeAndGloryFestival/posts/263516580803940 It is an embarrassment by all accounts and for some reason included a lot of rambling about some missing food!
To round it off Hope and Glory was a fail but Liverpool we'll definitely be back!