Nearly Festival organisers in Ipswich say day one was ‘fantastic’ in response to gate closure complaint

Crowds enjoy the Nearly Festival at Holywells Park, Ipswich.Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Crowds enjoy the Nearly Festival at Holywells Park, Ipswich.Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Organisers of an Ipswich music festival have responded to claims some concert-goers were unable to leave the venue after its gates were closed, saying the main exit was open “well after 10pm”.

Acts performing included a Motown tribute. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Acts performing included a Motown tribute. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Danny Banthorpe, of The Nearly Festival, stressed “customers were not locked in like animals” and most left Holywells Park yesterday without incident via Myrtle Road.

Amy Winehouse tribute, Laura Jane Butler, also performed. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Amy Winehouse tribute, Laura Jane Butler, also performed. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

His comments follow a complaint that some of those watching the final act – a Bon Jovi tribute – found the gates locked when they tried to leave at around 9.20pm.

Adore, a Stone Roses tribute were also on the bill.Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Adore, a Stone Roses tribute were also on the bill.Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Selina Green, 20, criticised the decision to lock the gates, which she said meant around 50 people, including children, had to scale a wall to get out.

Festival-goers Taylor Johnson, Crystal and Rwena Leva. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Festival-goers Taylor Johnson, Crystal and Rwena Leva. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mr Banthorpe said the gates at Cliff Lane and Bishops Hill had been closed by the park warden, contrary to his requests for them to be left open. However, he added that the “handful of customers” who scaled the gate without first checking with staff in the arena “could easily have walked out of the main exit”.

Festival goers enjoy the sunshine. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Festival goers enjoy the sunshine. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

The festival organiser also responded to criticism about the running order, insisting that all bands played full 40-45 minute sets, with “swift technical changeovers and soundchecks”.

Lee and Sophie Hutton got a good view of the performances.Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Lee and Sophie Hutton got a good view of the performances.Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

“It was a fantastic day of music, the weather was kind and the people of Ipswich were very interactive which made for a great atmosphere,” he added. “It is a very family friendly and safe event and our staff team worked tirelessly to achieve this.”

Organisers said it was a 'fantastic' day.Picture;Nige Brown.

Organisers said it was a 'fantastic' day.Picture;Nige Brown. - Credit: Archant

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The first day of the Nearly Festival included tributes to Oasis, Madness, Amy Winehouse, The Specials and Diana Ross.

The crowd at Holywells Park. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

The crowd at Holywells Park. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Today’s line-up is set to include tributes to the Kings of Leon, Ed Sheeran and the Beatles with a headline performance by a Queen tribute act.

Georgina Barber-Nichols and Adrianna Gutek take in the performances. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Georgina Barber-Nichols and Adrianna Gutek take in the performances. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Nearly Festival also ran at Castle Park in Colchester and the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds earlier in June.

Alisha and Kandice Martin with Mercedes Andrews. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Alisha and Kandice Martin with Mercedes Andrews. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Gates open for today’s festival from 12.30pm with the first performance at 1pm. The park closes tonight at 8.30pm.

Sally and Kay Edwards enjoying the sunshine. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Sally and Kay Edwards enjoying the sunshine. Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

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