Day one of the two-day event around St George’s Hall collapsed into chaos with long queues to get in and for toilets and refreshments and delays to the performances – and day two was cancelled. Tony McDonough reports
Both the organisers of the failed Hope & Glory music festival and Liverpool City Council have promised an investigation into the debacle.
Day one of the two-day event around St George’s Hall collapsed into chaos with long queues to get in and for toilets and refreshments and delays to the performances.
One artist, Welsh singer Charlotte Church, had her set cancelled.
More than 10,000 people attended on day one but on Sunday morning day two was cancelled in circumstances the city council has described as “completely unexpected and highly unusual”.
On Twitter on Monday morning, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “There will be an urgent inquiry into what went disastrously wrong here.”
Hope & Glory’s organisers came in for heavy criticism on social media during Sunday as both music fans and artists vented their frustration.
The social media response from Hope & Glory was defensive and dismissive.
Its initial tweet said: “Following the unfair and vitriolic comments, some of us have decided not to proceed” and the second added, simply “no festival today”.
On Sunday evening there were a number of terse exchanges between the Hope & Glory Twitter account and artists and those who had attended.
In response to criticism from Tim Booth, lead singer of headline act James, the Hope & Glory account tweeted: “Oh sit down Tim. Go Back to your yoga.”
The company behind the festival was Birmingham-based PR and events company, Tiny Cow, run by Lee O’Hanlon.
On Monday lunchtime, Mr O’Hanlon published a long statement about the failure of the festival on the Hope & Glory Facebook page.
YBNews has chosen not to republish the statement in full as it contains a number of allegations against individuals that we cannot substantiate.
In the statement Mr O’Hanlon said: “We can appreciate how disappointed and angry the festival-goers are as we are feeling the same.
“To say that the organisers feel anything short of devastated would be a gross understatement.
“Whilst we accept responsibility for our festival, we believe it is important that we are wholly transparent with the issues that led to our decision.”
The statement also said those people seeking refunds should contact the agencies from whom they purchased their tickets.
The council has also put out its own statement today, which reads: “Liverpool City Council, along with our safety partners, is to hold an investigation into the Hope and Glory Festival.
“What materialised over the weekend was completely unexpected and highly unusual.
“The event organiser has 25 years’ experience in the live music industry and has managed events featuring some of the biggest stars in the world, most recently Tom Jones in Wales.
“The plans for this festival were robust and were independently assessed and approved. All efforts will now be made to understand what lessons can be learnt.
“We’d like to thank all those Liverpool venues who stepped into host the acts that had been booked and questions will be asked of the organiser to ensure the festival goers get their refunds.”
The one positive to come out of the shambles of the festival was the reaction of music venues and bars across Liverpool city centre who offered to provide last-minute entertainment to disappointed festival-goers.
Many bars and restaurants offers food and drink discounts to those with festival wristbands and the Zanzibar venue in Seel Street allowed Hope & Glory acts The Lightning Seeds and Clean Cut Kid.