Wireless Mud Stops Hit Factory

The mud created by the 50,000-plus fans at London’s Hyde Park for Wireless Festival meant the site wasn’t ready for the Hit Factory Live concert scheduled for July 11.

The Hit Factory cancellation came a day before the event, and almost two days after Live Nation started spreading 8,000 cubic metres of wood chips across the grounds.

The show was to celebrate the music of Pete Waterman and would have featured Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reunited on stage for the first time in more than 20 years.

Wireless Festival July 6-8, which had Rihanna, Drake, Jessie J, The Roots and Deadmau5 on the bill, endured three days of constant rain, adding to what was the UK’s wettest June on record.

Early reports in such papers as London’s Evening Standard suggested the state of the ground threatened the Royal park’s chances of being the centrepiece of outdoor entertainment this summer, when it stages huge open-air concerts featuring Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Blur in the run-up to the Olympics.

“Despite best efforts time has beaten us,” said Probyn, while expressing his determination that Hit Factory Live will be the only event to suffer.

He says the park will be ready for Hard Rock Calling, which opens July 13 with a bill that includes Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Paul Simon, Iggy & The Stooges, Soundgarden, Amy Macdonald and Lady Antebellum. The Madonna show is July 17.

“We are confident that the action being taken will enable Hard Rock Calling and the remainder of the summer concert series to go ahead as planned,” said Hyde Park manager Steve Edwards.

“The surface has emulsified,” said Dave Saltman, managing director of turfing experts Maxwell Amenity. “In other words, the foot-fall combined with the rain has destroyed the soil structure. If the damaged areas were allowed to dry, then raking, aerating and overseeding would normally suffice.”

Apart from the rain, the main problem at Wireless was the number of fake tickets apparently sold through websites such as Gumtree and eBay.

Reportedly “hundreds” of fans were refused entry because their tickets were forgeries, prompting an LN media spokesman to issue yet another warning regarding buying tickets off unauthorised sites.

“This is outrageous and has to stop. We urge fans to only use the official ticket outlets at all times,” he said.