Bloc 2012 chaos – the full-as-possible story

Police cordon called in as the apparently unwisely named electronica festival is shut down, with massive crowd and ticketing problems resulting in stampedes.


Words by: Charlie Jones

Reports are flooding in of chaos at London electronic festival Bloc, and that the 15,000 capacity festival has been shut down early, with enormous over-crowding on the boat.

The problems seemed to stem from a confusion over ticketing, reportedly handled by the extremely unfortunately named company Crowdsurge. One person we contacted, who wishes to remain nameless told us “there was a shambles getting in when it opened. No one seemed to have the right ticket, and security didn’t know the correct ones.”

Blogger Jamila Scott told us that by later on, this confusion had resulted in “two-hour” queues, so long that people burst over the fence. “People surged toward the front and jumped over the barriers by the toilets. There was then a stampede, with scores of people jumping over. Security went insane, screaming and shouting to try and stop it. Eventually though, they gave up and let anyone in.” She reported that no-one had checked her ticket.

One Johnny Beverton took the below picture of the mob trying to get on to the boat, the centrepiece of the electronic music festival.

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“Hillsborough”, the tragic 80s football crowd tragedy was mentioned more than once, and music writer Dan Hancox was one of many who snapped the police who were called in to manage the crowds. The below image was accompanied by the Tweet “Bloc is um a disaster right now. “we’re in the middle of a car crash”. Could it just be shut down?” at 11.46.

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Within the hour, Dan was proved right, as organisers pulled the plug. Another source reported being on the boat, and seeing “over 800 people trying to get the boat – even before they people were kicked out of the RA tent and the main stage. Then, on the boat, the emergency tannoy came on telling everyone to leave, as the music was shut off suddenly.”

The crowd then assembled outside and, in true rave fashion, partied outside the venue surrounded by confused police. Dan Hancox has Tweeted about a 60-strong drum chorus pounding on the shipping containers outside, and pointed out the poetry of people dancing under an LED slogan “We wanted to be the sky” at venue accused of running before it could walk.

Jamila: “There are guys dancing on the cargo containers in fancy dress, loads of them, with everyone bashing the tins. The police are moving in around them, though no arrests seem to have been made. Everyone is annoyed, but it’s not threatening and it’s quite cheerful. It’s like a carnival.”

Here’s her picture of the scene:

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London Pleasure Gardens, the venue holders of the unfortunately named festival, have just issued the following statement:

We can confirm that this morning at 00:45, following advice from the Metropolitan Police, Bloc was subject to a controlled shut down due to health and safety concerns.

London Pleasure Gardens are currently co-operating with police to ensure all visitors leave the site and commence their onward journeys safely.

Our number one concern is always public safety, and sometimes tough decisions need to be made by on-site security, but we always act as we believe is necessary at the time to best protect visitors.

As far as we know, this is the first official word from the festival, and it is as yet unknown whether the festival’s second day will take place tomorrow, or the status of refunds. Rumours are currently abounding about overselling in the tens of thousands, with others reporting the opposite.

A screengrabbed picture of the Bloc Facebook page tells something of the frustration felt, though this thread has now been deleted. At present, both the Bloc Facebook page and Twitter feed are displaying nothing relating the unfolding drama, and they have not responded to our requests for quotes, though, in all fairness, it is 2.30am and we imagine them to have their hands rather full at present.

UPDATE: Bloc has issued an apology at 3.15am via Facebook, and confirmed tomorrow’s festival will not take place.

By now everyone will have heard that Bloc 2012 was closed due to crowd safety concerns.

We are all absolutely devastated that this happened, but the safety of everyone on site was paramount.

Given the situation on the ground, we feel that it was the right decision to end the show early.

Bloc will not open on Saturday 7th July so please don’t come to the site.

Stand by for full information on refunds.