The­mud­hits the fan over Zoo8 fes­ti­val “sham­bles”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

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.”

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