Bloc Festival cancelled amid crowd safety fears

As you will no doubt have read over the weekend, unfortunate scenes at the opening night of Bloc Festival’s first edition in London lead to the festival being shut down and cancelled.

Both this site’s deputy editor and staff writer were present from early on at the festival on Friday with the intention of writing a full review, and witnessed events unfold but some days later it’s still difficult to fully comprehend what happened or attempt to focus the blame on any one culpable group as there seems to be several contributing factors for the festival’s cancellation.

In the aftermath of Friday night, Dummy were able to speak with the Metropolitan Police’s Press Office who claimed the decision to shut down the festival was taken by the organisers and their own role was purely to “advise on the implications of either staying open or closing.” Somewhat puzzlingly, the representative also told Dummy the reasons for the turn of events was weather related: “The problem stemmed from rain, and people hiding under cover during the showers, creating huge ‘pinch-points’. [This created the issues], rather than any over-ticketing.”

Yesterday, an amended apology from Baselogic, the festival’s organisers was circulated and reads as follows:

“We are currently gathering information about Friday night’s events. We are also working to ensure that everyone will be refunded for their tickets. Please bear with us while we do this.

Thanks to all of you, as well as the many artists and crew who travelled across the world to come to Bloc – we are so sorry that we couldn’t deliver the experience we had planned.

And thanks so much to the event control, security, stewards, police and public who worked together to ensure that no one came to harm during the peaceful evacuation.

This is far and away the most important result of the night. For those of you who are frustrated and angry – we hear you. For those sending love and support – thank you. More news soon.

The Bloc team x.”

The London Pleasure Gardens also made an official statement on their website yesterday:

“We understand that many are frustrated following the closure of Bloc weekend, a full investigation is ongoing.

Crowd safety was judged to be an issue on site at the time, and at 00:45 on Saturday morning, following advice from the Metropolitan Police, Bloc was subject to a controlled shut down due to crowd safety issues. We’re pleased that we were able to clear the site safely, with the area clear by 0200.

The decision to cancel the event’s second day was taken to ensure public safety as a measure against the potential for more overcrowding. All requests for refunds should be directed to Bloc www.blocweekend.com.”

Having attended and greatly enjoyed last years Bloc event in Minehead, it’s especially sad to see this year’s festival turn so sour and the consequent financial implications for the cancellation could potentially be devastating. Despite all the rumours circulating in the aftermath it’s naturally a very good thing that no-one was seriously hurt, whilst the raft of swiftly organised parties with artists booked to play at Bloc that took place on Saturday across venues like XOYO, Rhythm Factory, the Bussey Building and Peckham Palais offered people a chance to enjoy some of the music they had originally intended to see at the festival.

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