Attendee speaks of 'relief' at overcrowded festival shut down
michael baggs
14:43 7th July 2012

On Friday night (6 July, 2012) in London, Bloc Festival was cancelled in the middle of it's first night, with thousands of attendees turfed out of the East London event - many without seeing any of the headline acts, including Snoop Dogg, perform.

Fans tweeted about the event being a 'disaster' as they attempted to make their way home from the festival in the early hours of Sunday morning, with others saying they were 'scared' for their own safety at the show.

We spoke to one attendee - Will Gilgrass, editor of dance music blog Radio ClubFoot - who was at Bloc to find out what really happened at the dance festival, who revealed the event was struggling long before the show was cancelled.

Arriving at the event at 9pm, Will reveals that the venue was already over-crowded with festival goers.

"The first place we tried to go to was the MS Stubnitz - the German boat they'd brought over as a venue," he tells us. "There was no way we were getting on. We thought this would probably be the case, but the fact one of our friends was unable to get into the main tent during DOOM at 11pm because of queues was ridiculous.

Problems were not simply limited to overcrowding, with bars under-stocked and poor speakers inside the venues.

"One of the bars ran out of Budweiser by 10.30pm and the sound quality in the main arena was also very poor," Will continued, claiming attendees were still attempting to make the most of the festival. "The atmosphere was so strange because everyone was so pumped for the event and were trying their best to make it a great event but it was increasingly becoming more difficult."

Following these initial problems, the extent of the festival chaos was revealed as crowds gathered for the Friday night headline act, Snoop Dogg.

"He was due on stage at midnight, and didn't appear and at around 12.30am their was an announcement made saying he wasn't going to be coming on," Will reveals. "At first I thought it was just Snoop who had been cancelled and wasn't aware it was the whole event - highlighting the poor sound quality in the main stage I suppose. But it was evident before this that there were problems.

Aside from the one announcement from Snoop Dogg's empty stage, further information was scarce.

"I'm still unaware as to how so many people could have been in that space and who made the call - the organisers of the event, the Pleasure Gardens or the Police," said Will. "It was the right decision to take but it should never have got to that point."

Uncertainty over what was happening gave way to an eventual sense of relief, as Will reveals his group were almost pleased that the event was over.

"There was also a strange sense of relief because it was so awful we'd been given an excuse to go home," he said. "Once we'd left the site there was massive frustration because it was in a not massively accessible place to get to and so it was difficult for people to get home.

However, despite all this, he reveals that the audience remained well behaved after a disaster of an evening.

"There was certainly discontent amongst the punters but from my experience there was no trouble and the security staff/police managed to do a good job of getting so many pissed off people out," he concluded.

Bloc organisers issued the following statement today (7 July, 2012):

"By now everyone will have heard that Bloc 2012 was closed due to crowd safety concerns. We are all absolutely devastated that this happened, but the safety of everyone on site was paramount. Given the situation on the ground, we feel that it was the right decision to end the show early.

"Bloc will not open on Saturday 7th July so please don’t come to the site. Stand by for full information on refunds."

The event was taking place at London's Pleasure Gardens, a 60,000 square-meter venue in East London. Snoop Dogg and Orbital were due to headline the event.

Below: Bloc festival and more cancelled events of 2012