Jim Carroll

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The mud hits the fan over Zoo8 festival ‘shambles’

Whatever happens at Punchestown Racecourse this weekend, Oxegen fans can rest easy in one regard the title of worst festival for 2008 has already been claimed. That unfortunate sobriquet now belongs to Zoo8, a three-day festival held at Port Lympne …

Fri, Jul 11, 2008, 09:15

   

Whatever happens at Punchestown Racecourse this weekend, Oxegen fans can rest easy in one regard the title of worst festival for 2008 has already been claimed.

That unfortunate sobriquet now belongs to Zoo8, a three-day festival held at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent last weekend.

Fans spent most of this week fuming, with such lowlights as bad organisation, the number of no-shows and poor facilities mentioned in the despatches. Descriptions such as “shambles” and “disgraceful” were bandied about in various online reviews of the festival.

Dizzee Rascal, Roni Size, Athlete, Late of the Pier, Charlotte Hatherley, The Rascals and Wiley were some of the acts who pulled out of the festival at the eleventh hour.

While the organisers, a trio of dance club promoters, were initially claiming that the event was a “qualified success”, they later acknowledged that some aspects of the event went badly wrong.

In a statement, festival director Ricardo Monty said they “experienced some serious teething problems” including “queues upon arrival, complaints over campsite overcrowding, lack of drinkable water and line-up and scheduling changes.” Monty also said organisers encountered “significant dissent from artists regarding payment”.

Many of these problems, said fellow director Danny Blanche, were due to a “miscalculation over cash flow” with the park owners having to come to the rescue to keep the show on the road.

Ash bassist Mark Hamilton told BBC Radio Kent that the band’s appearance was in doubt until late in the day due to “a lot of issues with the promoters”.

Naturally in the wake of such widespread unhappiness, there have been many calls for refunds for tickets, which ranged in price from £45 to £99.

However, the organisers said they will be dealing with all such claims on a case-by-case basis.

“We want to stress that this was our first festival”, said Blanche, “and that we have dealt with all problems directly and will continue to do so in preparation for next year.”