There wasn’t much glory involved in the organization of the weekend’s (Aug. 5-6) Hope & Glory festival in Liverpool, England, which led to the Sunday being canceled in its entirety.
The festival premiere had revelers cue for hours to get into the site, buy food and drinks or use the toilets. Adding to what the Liverpool Echo described as a “catalogue of chaos” was the fact that there was only one entrance point for some 12,000 revelers.
The ensuing delays caused disruption to the festival program. James had to cut its set short and Charlotte Church’s headline show was scrapped entirely.
Some Liverpool venues stepped in, offering to host some of the artists whose sets were axed. Charlotte Church moved her set to
The club also hosted bands that would have taken the festival stage on Sunday. The festival’s organizers, headed by promoter Lee O’Hanlon, maintained a questionable communication strategy, mocking artists and fans who complained about the poor organization.
O’Hanlon had assured the Liverpool Echo as late as Saturday night that the event would go ahead, but on Sunday morning announced on social media that there would be “no festival today.”
That was the entire message. In a lengthy statement released on Monday, organizers said that “multitudinous failures by the Production Management Team, headed by Richard Agar, resulted in a plethora of issues that meant the decision to cancel the festival was made.
“The festival accepts its responsibility but the public attending the festival need to know the truth behind our decision to sadly cancel the festival. We already know at this early stage,that we will be taking legal action against some parties employed as a result of the failures.”
Key points addressed in the statement include capacity: the promoter claims to have reduced it from what Liverpool city council initially suggested, 15,000, to 12,500, and then even more on the first day of the event, when they stopped selling day tickets mid-afternoon.
As far as the bottle necking at the entrance and late stage running is concerned, “it is important to acknowledge why these issues occurred and whom was responsible for them.
Whereas Hope & Glory accept ultimate responsibility for the event we must highlight the issues caused not only to the public and Hope & Glory festival but to other companies involved in the delivery of the festival also.”
Which, again, are Agar and his team, according to the statement.
For example, “the bridges that the festival had requested be built from William Brown Street into St. Johns Gardens to ease congestion had not been built. We believe that these were the sole reason for the bottle necking that occurred. We requested that these be delivered by Mr. Agar’s production management as agreed and they clearly were not.”
Organizers point out that they worked on an alternative entrance solution with police on Saturday, which “resolved the matter though we realized it was still not ideal. We held entry back onto the site whilst we reviewed the steps taken with the police and opened them again when we were sure that public safety had once again been established.
“We will continue to liaise with Mr. Agar and his company and seek a resolution over these issues.”
Since most issues couldn’t be resolved by Sunday, organizers decided to cancel the entire day. The full statement can be viewed on the festival’s Facebook page.
It includes multiple apologies, one of which reads: “Hope & Glory Festival wish to once again apologize to all our customers and acts and others involved. We are desperately saddened that what was to be a superb and exciting festival ended in cancellation. We did so because the Health & Safety of all of our customers takes precedence over anything else and we felt that given the issues of the Saturday, these could not be assured.”