Fans blast Van Morrison concert venue at Wrest Park, Silsoe, a ‘disgrace’

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Fans have blasted the Van Morrison concert at Wrest Park as a ‘disgrace’ after they waited three hours to leave the venue.

Ticketholders also complained of hour-long queues for a cup of coffee, bars running dry and food running out and gridlock in the car park at the Silsoe venue.

It took three hours for some drivers to get out of the car park after the 9,350-capacity gig ended at 10pm.

Some who arrived with picnic hampers were forced to eat outside the gates after security stopped people taking food or drink into the venue.

Richard Franklin, who fired off a complaint to the organsers said: “It was the worst event I have ever attend and feel cheated. The whole evening was a rip off, and certainly in no way represented value for the cost of the tickets. “That’s not withstanding the attitude of the main act, which I found rude.

“I am aware that Van Morrison has a reputation for being arrogant and aloof, but not even saying hello, goodbye or even thank you was very disrespectful.

“I bought 5 tickets, at a cost of £65 each and have registered a complaint for a full refund.

“Having worked all day, I arrived at the venue expecting to be able to purchase some food.

“No such luck. The queues were horrendous. Having queued for half and hour, missing mos.

He added: “I read that this decision was made, under advice from the police.

“Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would like to see evidence of this Personally I think it was just a ploy to rip off event goers, with exorbitant food and drink prices.

“A hot dog starting at £6, a portion of chips £4, burger concessions running out of fries, queues for food, merging with queues for toilets.

“Banning people from even taking in water is just unacceptable.

“Having returned to seat in time to catch the appearance of Van Morrison, on the screens, as he was too far away to actually see him or in fact anything other than a bank of lights.

“I was appalled to find I could not hear anything.

“I thought I had gone deaf. Then I realised that there was no speakers further back, and only around the stage area.

“The video and sound were so far out of sync, that we would hear a complete line in a song, and silence.

“THEN we would see the mouth move on the video. At one point a sax was being played, stopped and then Van Morrison put the Saxophone to his lips and played on the video screen.

“The venue was just completely wrong for an event such as this. The stage was at the end of the tunnel of trees. The crowd were funnelled into this area, with no room to spread out to the sides, which meant people went further and further back.

“Having driven to the event, I was not personally exposed to the rip off that was the bar.

“However my guests were. Two cans of beer and two tonic waters £16.

“Having mentioned that I drove to the venue I was charged £5 to park in a field. I was in the middle, neither close to the entrance/exit or furthest away. At the end of the event, we left at 9.55pm. We returned to the car park to find that temporary lighting had been provided, but with only a few units, 75% of the car park was pitch black.

“Finding footing was difficult enough, but nothing compared to the free for all, in trying to exit the car park. There were young lads, trying to direct traffic, who quite frankly had no idea what they were doing. There was no one of authority visible, managing the situation. It took me over an hour just to leave the car park, two of my guests who were parked further back took over and hour and a half to get out.

“The whole event was a disgrace, and I feel cheated out of the money that I paid.”

SimoneC said on Twitter: “Wrest Park... a terrible venue for a concert. Van Morrison (yeah, I’m that cool) tonight and the venue sold out of wine, pretty much all food, coffee and now one of the car parking stewards has offered to ‘spark out’ a v angry man in the car park (we’ve moved for 30 mins).”

An English Heritage spokesman said: “This concert was an independent event organised by GCE Live who were responsible for all aspects of it, including the traffic management plan which was in place for the evening.”

In a statement GCE Live said: “We would like to apologise to those who had difficulty oin leaving the Wrest Park site on Friday after the Van Morrison concert.

“Despite the best efforts and hard work of the specialist traffic management company contracted to safely get patrons off the site, a bottleneck in the village of Silsoe and the sheer number of vehicles created unnecessary delays.

“We thank those who waited patiently as we worked to resolve the problems on the night.

“We are currently investigating why this happened and how we can guarantee this doesn’t happen again at future events.”

Customers had been warned in advance that food and drink would not be allowed on site, a spokesman added.