'Nightmare' festival slammed as fans complain of 'fearing for their safety'

By Joe Thomas & Graeme Murray

A 'nightmare' music festival has been slammed as fans complained of huge queues and 'fearing for their safety'.

People attending a festival complained there were huge queues everywhere and they were ‘squashed’ together.

Revellers at Reminisce Festival, in St Helens say they ‘feared for their safety’ due to the management of crowds at the event on Saturday.

Thousands attended the sold out festival for sets by well-known DJs and artists including N-Trance and Basshunter.

But music fans say they were faced with long waits and payment issues while waiting for drinks and toilets.

One festival-goer told the Liverpool Echo : "It took two and a half hours to get into the festival, there was no crowd control whatsoever.

Music fans say they were faced with long waits and payment issues while waiting for drinks and toilets (ECHO)

"We queued for 45 minutes for a crate of Amstel for £100. It was supposed to be cash and card however once in it was only cash."

Another said: "We were in the queue for an hour and people were just getting really annoyed.

“It took 45 minutes to get a drink and then it was 45 minutes for the toilets."

Festival-goers also said there were issues with crowds, with the venue being reportedly ‘rammed’ in the afternoon.

One person said: "At first the mood was great because everybody was buzzing to be there.

“We went to a couple of tents. We had arrived about 12.30pm and queued an hour to get in but the tents were OK at the beginning.

“But towards 5pm the place was rammed, it was person to person."

Describing their experience in one of the music tents, the attendee added: "We were right by the metal barriers. Someone was pushing and I was getting squashed against them and couldn't move.

“My mate was getting squashed and she started to cry. No-one would move."

A spokesperson for the festival said those behind the event were "disappointed" with some of the problems but still proud of the show, while organiser Lee Butler added: "We really tried our best. We didn’t get it all right and trust me we will learn and fix any issues, I can promise you that."

After the event, disappointed ticket holders flooded the Reminisce Festival Facebook page with criticism.

One festival-goer wrote: "Couldn’t wait to get there this year and introduce some of my friends, waited two years to come and safe to say I’ll never be back! Feared for my safety, queued for nearly three hours to get in and how we ever got in safely I’ll never know."

Another comment read: "Absolutely gutted! Waited in the queue from 1.15 to 4pm by time we queued for a drink and queued to get into the quad [Quadrant] tent it was 5pm... Queues everywhere sucked the joy out of the day... fuming."

And another wrote: "Had a good time once we actually got in. Crammed in horrendous crowds trying to get in for hours on end, people having panic attacks from the crush when queuing."

In response to the concerns, a spokesperson for Reminisce told the Liverpool Echo : "We take the health and safety of our festival goers extremely seriously and pride ourselves in the provision of a great event experience.

"Along with a stellar line up of the usual much-loved DJs playing old school club classics, this year the festival increased their line-up with 90s pop acts such as Atomic Kitten, The Cheeky Girls, The Vengaboys, 5ive, East 17 and many more, all of whom played to fantastic full arenas with the majority of 20,000 people having a fantastic day and night in Sherdley Park.

"The event organisers work extensively with local authorities to ensure that all safety measures and protocols are in place for the protection of our festival goers.

"Whilst Covid restrictions have been officially lifted there are many things that still need to be in place for running festivals this year.

"Covid advice was issued prolifically in advance of the festival by both the festival organisers and the local authorities. Over 400 brand new toilets with hand sanitisation units were ordered on site and increased security were engaged to manage the flow of people, considerably more than the recommended amount."

The organisers said damaged network lines led to the site's internet connection being severely disrupted, meaning card payments failed, but said they ensured free water was available throughout.

They added: "This also meant that the ticketing system on the entrance was running slowly when connecting to the backup 4G system.

"4G networks are known to become unavailable at crowded events, and thousands of customers were unable to download their e-tickets at the last minute.

"This, coupled with additional police and security on arrival this year for the prevention of drug misuse, meant that access to the site was unavoidably slower than usual – resulting in considerable queues when large volumes of people were arriving at the same time."

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