The organisers of Hope & Glory Festival have issued a statement after the inaugural edition of the Liverpool event was besieged by problems, leading to the cancellation of its second day.
Thousands of festival-goers were made to wait hours on Saturday after the festival, located in Liverpool’s St George Quarter, became severely overcrowded.
Once they were inside, ticket holders complained of huge queues for food and drink, while stage-times reportedly far ran behind schedule – leading to the cancellation of one main stage act before headliners James eventually took to the stage on Saturday night.
The organisers responded to the chaos by opting to cancel the second day of the festival, amid criticism from fans who claimed that it was ‘dangerous’ and ‘shambolic’.
Now, a full lengthy statement has been released on the festival’s page.
“It is with the deepest regret that the organisers of HOPE & GLORY made the decision to cancel the Sunday of the festival”, the statement claimed.
“We can appreciate how disappointed and angry the festival-goers are as we are feeling the same. To say that the organisers feel anything short of devastated would be a gross understatement. Whilst we accept responsibility for our festival, we believe it is important that we are wholly transparent with the issues that led to our decision”
It continued: “We are conducting a full review into what happened, however it is clear at this early stage that multitudinous failures by the Production Management Team, headed by Richard Agar, resulted in a plethora of issues that meant the decision to cancel the festival was made. Again, the festival accepts its responsibility but the public attending the festival need to know the truth behind our decision to sadly cancel the festival. We already know at this early stage, that we be taking legal action against some parties employed as a result of the failures.
“We will now address some of the key points that led to our decision and also provide correct information about some of the comments that we have seen made about the festival and other matters of concern.”
Along with the initial response, the statement also addressed individual criticisms in a list of categories. You can read the entire response below.
We are aware of a social media account claiming to be Jannet Loures. We are equally aware that the comments by this individual will have caused further distress to us and the public.
We have never heard of this individual yet she claims to be solicitor to the HOPE & GLORY Festival. Her comments and claims should be disregarded as should many of the fake accounts that appear to be engaging with her comments. We believe we know the source of these and the police have been advised.
We have seen a number of comments suggesting the festival was over capacity.
In joint agencies group meeting Angie Redhead, Head of City Assets for Liverpool Council advised the group that the capacity allowed is 15,000. This was noted in minutes of the meeting.
The number seemed very excessive to Hope & Glory Festival Ltd and our company advised the council and emergency services in attendance that we were very uncomfortable with the capacity that Angie Redhead of Liverpool Council advised on behalf of the council.
As a direct result of the festival statement of concern, the capacity was reduced by 2,500 people.
We can confirm that contrary to claims on social media, at no point did the festival exceed the capacity agreed by the SAG (council, police, fire, ambulance).
The festival was concerned about the numbers and so decided to further reduce the capacity on the day by mid afternoon and stopped selling day tickets as a way to do so thus reducing the capacity below that that had been sanctioned by the Sag (blue light services and Liverpool City Council). It is worth noting that if we had proceeded with the 15,000 Angie Redhead of Liverpool Council had advised the festival then this would have been at a severely dangerous level. We are relieved we did not.
QUEUES, OPENING TIMES, BOTTLE NECKING & LATE STAGE RUNNING
We are very aware of the claims of excessive queues, bottle necking and late running of stage times which also led to the cancellation of one major act.
The festival accept that this occurred and profusely apologise to the public and artists for this.
However, it is important to acknowledge why these issues occurred and whom was responsible for them. Whereas Hope & Glory accept ultimate responsibility for the event we must highlight the issues caused not only to the public and Hope & Glory festival but to other companies involved in the delivery of the festival also.
The festival employed experienced Production Manager Richard Agar and his team to deliver the production element of the event. The Production failed to deliver a site that was ready in time. We had agreed that doors would be opened at 11am though advertised at noon. This was agreed with the Council, blue light services and all contractors for the event including Richard Agar.
QUEUES AND OPENING TIMES
Mr Agar and the team he appointed to carry out the production sadly did not deliver the site as ready in time for 11am. We view this solely as a management issue as his team appeared to work exceedingly hard to address what they needed to.
At 12:45 William Brown St was still having build materials cleared from it. As a direct result the festival opened 1 hour and 50 minutes later than agreed and 50 minutes later than advertised. These had a massive impact on the queues that never recovered from them until much later in the day. We will continue to liaise with Mr Agar and his company and seek a resolution over these issues.
Despite the delay opening, it became apparent that the bridges that the festival had requested be built from William Brown Street into St. Johns Gardens to ease congestion had not been built. We believe that these were the sole reason for the bottle necking that occurred. We requested that these be delivered by Mr Agar’s production management as agreed and they clearly were not.
The festival became concerned during the course of the day. We requested to a PCSO onsite that a senior police officer join us to assess the matter. That occurred along with us putting in place a temporary measure to imporove the flow of people movement between the gardens and William Brown St. That resolved the matter though we realised it was still not ideal. We held entry back onto the site whilst we revieqwed the steps taken with the police and opened them again when we were sure that public safety had once again been established.
We will continue to liaise with Mr Agar and his company and seek a resolution over these issues.
LATE STAGE RUNNING
We profusely apologise to all customers, artists and management alike over the late stage running and the necessary cancellation of one main stage act and reduction of some set lengths. It was necessary for all the reasons above.
All ticket purchasers should consult the company they purchased their tickets from for advice on this.
OTHER MATTERS INCLUDING POSSIBLE THEFT
We have reported to the police the theft of property from the festival site and in particular from St.George’s Hall. We had previously been advised by council officials that our office in St.George’s Hall was a safe place to leave our belongings and that there was sufficient security in the building. It seems however that our belongings were not safe from Angie Redhead of Liverpool City Council’s decisions and I will address that now.
On Saturday evening, all of the artist riders were laid out in Suite 2 of St. George’s Hall. The value of these were circa £2,000. We have been advised by Angie Redhead that most of this was “donated’ when she said “We made the decision to give it away”. A decision they were not authorised to make.
Angie Redhead claimed that the ‘perishables’ would have “gone off”. This is remarkable as the food was not perishable within two hours (!) but that most had long dates on them and even the shorter dated products had a few days – certainly enough time available to drop us an email asking what should be done with them. There was certainly nothing that would have gone off, save perhaps a pint milk we understand was there and the room was not so warm that it would have caused an issue to any of the products. As we know the Sunday was a much cooler, rainy day too!
Even more concerning was that out of the vast amount of alcohol in that room, most of it was gone – including all the spirits (bourbon, gin, whisky, vodka, rum etc) and all but one of the plentiful bottles of wine. A small amount of the alcohol has been returned but no spirits and only one bottle of wine. Again, Angie Redhead advised, when challenged that she had “Made the decision to give it away”. For the avoidance of doubt, the quotes I have attributed to Angie Redhead here are exact. As a council official, and without contacting the festival organisers (we had been on site that morning and were again that afternoon).
We were refused entry to check it which given my quiet demeanour when working with the local authority and discussing the riders we were most surprised at.
No-one in the festival set up with such responsibility received any email from Angie Redhead. We consider that theft of Hope & Glory Festival Limited owned goods.
There was cash and two Mac computers present in Suite 1. The macs we may have located and the money I need to look into but, as we have said already, Angie Redhead chose not to allow me entry into the building – a decision I am still unclear on why she too as it was our belongings in there. As I had already been in the building 5 minutes earlier and was asking where my Macs were, we can only imagine she made that decision because she knew we were about to discover about the alcohol.
Some of the above will not apply to you all but we are attempting to be as transparent as possible and will answer any other questions we can. Some matters will of course lead us to legal action against some parties so our apologies if at this stage we can’t answer everything.
Hope & Glory Festival wish to once again apologise to all our customers and acts and others involved. We are desperately saddened that what was to be a superb and exciting festival ended in cancellation. We did so because the Health & Safety of all of our customers takes precedence over anything else and we felt that given the issues of the Saturday, these could not be assured.
Such concerns will always be our priority and we will update you on more as our investigation continues.
It is yet to be confirmed if Hope & Glory Festival will return next year.