The promoters of a major electronic pop festival which was shut down on Friday night amid fears about overcrowding have insisted that the same London Docklands venue will still host a concert planned for later this month as part of an arts programme leading up to the Olympics, as well as other events.
Police were involved in the evacuation of the Bloc 2012 at the London Pleasure Gardens (LPG) while day two of the festival on Saturday was also called off, angering fans who had spent as much as £125 per ticket to watch artists including the rapper Snoop Dogg.
A statement issued by LPG said that, following advice from the Metropolitan police, Bloc had been subject to “a controlled shut down due to crowd safety issues” shortly before 1am on Saturday morning.
It added that the BT River of Music Africa stage would go ahead as planned at the venue on 21 July and 22 July, the weekend before the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The event “will be using a completely different site layout and is not affected by the same issues”, the statement said. A number of other major events are also scheduled to take place in July, August and September at the venue.
However, questions remained about the circumstances that led to the Bloc debacle.
Police sources suggested that one problem on Friday night had been the convergence of festival goers in enclosed spaces, or “pinch points”, due to the rain, although irate festival-goers were quick to insist on Twitter that there had been no rain.
Neither the police nor the event organisers were prepared to comment on suggestions that a loophole on the ticketing website for Bloc allowed people to change the url of ticket barcodes and then print out extra tickets. Other accounts suggested that security staff had failed to properly scan the barcodes of tickets.
The Phonograph music blog, carried a report based on the experience of two of its writers at Bloc on Friday: “It appears by this point the ticketing company had lost control of how to monitor who had and who hadn’t paid for a ticket.”
It also claimed that the venue was not designed to allow people to move freely and that large queues had built up outside of the venue even before concerns about overcrowding began to materialise.
Some of the biggest acts in electronic dance music had been brought together for the event, where a 60,000-square-metre outdoor derelict space had been redesigned by the team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La. It was the first time that Bloc had been held outside a holiday resort, with Pontin’s in Hemsby and Butlin’s in Minehead having hosted the festival in previous years.
A statement on the Bloc 2012 website said that organisers were “working to ensure that everyone will be refunded for their tickets”.
Garfield Hackett and Debs Armstrong, co-directors of LPG, said: “We are hugely disappointed that Bloc Festival had to close early last night and has been cancelled today. We are fully investigating what happened and will provide further information when we are in a position to do so. We thank our staff for dealing with the issue in a manner which ensured that the site was cleared safely.”