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This afternoon, we spoke to Metropolitan Police Department’s press office, who told us that “the decision to close the venue was the festival organiser’s – though the Met were there to advise on the implications of either staying open or closing.”
When asked about the reasons for the scenes last night, their representative said: “The problem stemmed from rain, and people hiding under cover during the showers, creating huge ‘pinch-points’. [This created the issues], rather than any over-ticketing.” The Met confirmed there were no injuries or fatalities reported at the site. Rumours have abounded throughout the night and day, the most unpleasant one by far relating to deaths at the site. It’s a relief to lay these to rest.
There is still no further word from Bloc themselves, outside of the statement released on their website this morning, and they declined our invitation to comment.
London Pleasure Gardens, the east London venue complex that hosted the event, have released the following statement:
At 00:45 on Saturday morning, following advice from the Metropolitan Police, Bloc was subject to a controlled shut down due to crowd safety issues. Egress from the site was carefully managed and nobody was harmed throughout the process. By 0200 the site was clear.
The decision to cancel the event’s second day was taken to ensure public safety as a measure against the potential for more overcrowding.
The BT River of Music Africa stage, which will be using a completely different site layout and is not affected by the same issues, will be going ahead as planned on Sat 21 and Sun 22 July. For more information and tickets, please see www.btriverofmusic.com
Other forthcoming events include the Art of Dark Garden Party on July 14th and Carnaval Del Pueblo, Europe’s largest latin festival, on the 18th August, as well as the Last Mile Festival, a programme of special events during the Olympic Games from 28th July – 12th August & 29th August – 8th September.
Garfield Hackett and Debs Armstrong, co-directors of LPG, said: ‘We are hugely disappointed that Bloc Festival had to close early last night and has been cancelled today. We are fully investigating what happened and will provide further information when we are in a position to do so. We thank our staff for dealing with the issue in a manner which ensured that the site was cleared safely.’
All ticket refund requests should be addressed directly to Bloc (www.blocweekend.com )
Several parties have been organised in lieu of the cancelled festival’s Saturday event. Among these are Actress, Martyn and Jacques Greene playing Peckham Palais; Perc, Truss and Surgeon at The Bussey Building; Flying Lotus, Oneohtrix Point Never, Factory Floor and Blanck Mass at XOYO, and Flying Lotus, Kode9, Bok Bok and Cooly G at Rhythm Factory in Bethnal Green. Full details are on this helpful map.