Nearly Festival organisers in Ipswich say day one was 'fantastic' in response to gate closure complaint
PUBLISHED: 00:16 25 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 25 June 2017
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".
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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”.
“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.”
The first day of the Nearly Festival included tributes to Oasis, Madness, Amy Winehouse, The Specials and Diana Ross.
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.
The Nearly Festival also ran at Castle Park in Colchester and the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds earlier in June.
Gates open for today’s festival from 12.30pm with the first performance at 1pm. The park closes tonight at 8.30pm.
Visit its website for more details.