Hallowe'en Masked Ball turns revellers away as weather hits: UPDATE + FULL STORY (From This is The West Country)
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Hallowe'en Masked Ball turns revellers away as weather hits: UPDATE + FULL STORY
2:40pm Monday 28th October 2013 in Cornwall
As Mother Nature threw everything and the kitchen sink at the Masked Ball on the Lizard on Saturday, organisers have called it "the most testing times in the history of the event".
The organisers have released a statement apologising to those who did not make it into the event, and explaining what happened to cause the problems.
"We are fully aware that some of you really didn’t get The Masked Ball experience we strive so hard to offer. So we will do our best to explain the situation we all found ourselves in Saturday night.
"Preparation works began on The Camel Farm over six weeks ago to improve the event site for vehicle access along with a detailed traffic management plan which was put in place as part of the event safety plan.
"One of the most important aspects of the traffic management plan is maintaining access to the site for emergency vehicles and having sufficient space to park expected and unexpected vehicles.
During the week leading up to the event it was obvious that a developing storm was approaching the South West that weekend and contingency plans to prepare the site for bad weather were put into place. All forecasts showed the weather system intensifying and arriving in the area on Sunday night/Monday morning therefore ‘Severe weather warnings’ were valid from Sunday night.
"Further measures put in place to improve access to the site in bad weather included 144 tons of additional stone chippings, 50 tons of wood chippings, hundreds of tons of straw, new access gates, several tractors on standby and additional stewards. These further measures along with the window of a manageable weather forecast on Saturday gave us the confidence of being able to get you all safely on and off site.
"The event site has enough capacity to accommodate over 2500 vehicles across three car park fields, which is more than enough space for an event of this size. Two additional fields were also available to use in the case of adverse weather conditions affecting the site access.
"Following the deluge of extremely heavy rain that hammered the site between 6pm and 7pm, it became necessary to utilise the first of these back-up fields. During this time access was maintained to car parks and to the event.
After 90 minutes, the entrance to the first backup car park was only accessible by tractor tow due to rivers of water running off a gradient in the field and destroying the entrance. One by one we were still able to help you park, but progress was slow and created huge tailbacks.
Between 7.30pm and 9.30pm, a series of incidents unfolded in quick succession, and can only be described as extremely testing even in ideal weather. A medical emergency requiring an ambulance, combined with a huge peak in people arriving, led us to redirect cars into the second backup field in order to maintain emergency access for the approaching ambulance. A second medical incident shortly afterwards required an additional ambulance that was directed through a different route. However, this route had become congested as we dealt with a further incident (vehicle fire) requiring a fire engine. The first ambulance leaving the site with a casualty then broke down within the local road network, causing further congestion and yet another situation that needed to be dealt with.
"At this stage an emergency situation was declared by the organisers to quickly regain control of the emergency access and get the emergency vehicles moving again. As this corresponded with the peak arrival time, our only option was to turn people away from the event area to flush out the congestion. Whilst we regained emergency access to the site fairly quickly, we could not allow a potential repeat of this situation and had no other option but to continue to turn vehicles away.
"Those of you that made it in will probably never forget the ground conditions inside, but it didn’t stop the party and 95 per cent of the artists made it to the site for their set times with some walking over four miles to the site to play, to an incredibly enthusiastic crowd, all things considered.
"We have been overwhelmed with your support from messages below and we have still got a mammoth task to return the farm to normality. We are truly sorry for those that didn’t make it in and grateful for your co-operation with police and stewards at that time, we will do our up most to make you all happy, and make sure that we the organisers have learnt from our experience."
People requesting advice on refunds will be contacted via Ticket Hive support ASAP.
At around 9pm organisers put out a message on Facebook warning that they were having “huge problems” in the car parks due to heavy rainfall two hours earlier.
They said: “We’re getting cars in but very slowly – if you haven’t left yet please give a few hours. We’re desperately doing everything we can.”
With the event taking place on a farm off Goonhilly Downs, cars were being parked in fields that, despite sand and other temporary surfing being put down, were becoming mud baths.
Just two hours later, however, organisers were forced to put out a further announcement.
They said: “We’re in an impossible situation here. Due to circumstances beyond our control we are asking people to turn back. “We can no long admit cars to the site – if you can get dropped off it’s ok, but if you’re in the queue we can only say we are completely devastated. I know you all are too.
“We will honour tickets that have been bought with summer tickets, that’s all I can manage to say for now. It’s totally beyond our control.”
Some people took to the event’s Facebook page to share their frustrations, with the situation described as a “shambles” and people calling for refunds.
One person wrote: “I dropped my daughter and friends nearly a mile and a half away at about 9pm. We had queued for an hour – only took them 30 mins to walk the rest of the way. Traffic was horrendous but they all got in. Trouble is the fields are sodden and cars may get bogged in.”
However many gave their backing to the organisers, with one saying: “We were meant to go to tonight's party and ended up turning back. We were all very disappointed but we really don't lay any blame on the organisers, in fact we all said how sorry we felt for them.
“Think about the financial hit they will take and how gutted they will be that their months and months of hard work have been wasted.”
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