Hope & Glory blames prod. mgr as mayor promises inquiry
The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has promised an “urgent inquiry” into last weekend’s inaugural Hope & Glory festival, which was axed on its second day amid widespread overcrowding, bottlenecking, late running and cancelled sets and a bizarre Twitter rant from organisers.
Responding to a tweet from performing arts tech Colin Farley, Anderson says Liverpool City Council, the governing body for the UK city, will look urgently at “what went disastrously wrong here”, as promoter Hope & Glory Festivals Ltd blamed production manager Richard Agar for what it calls the “multitudinous failures” that led to the festival’s cancellation – and even going so far as to circulate Agar’s personal email address to angry ticketholders.
Hope & Glory, new for 2017, was scheduled for Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August in St George’s Quarter, Liverpool city centre. The festival was marked by disruption from the outset, with festival director Lee O’Hanlon calling police in response to overcrowding on the site (although he tells IQ the festival was never over capacity) and reports of hour-long queues for concessions and toilets, while several performances, including Charlotte Church’s, were cancelled after stage times ran over by up to two hours.
In a statement released this afternoon, the 12,500-cap. festival “profusely apologise[d] to the public and artists” for the queues, bottlenecking and late running but blamed Agar for the site not being ready.
“Oh, sit down, Tim. Go back to your yoga”
“Mr Agar and the team he appointed to carry out the production sadly did not deliver the site as ready in time for 11am,” it reads. “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 [in St George’s Quarter] was still having build materials cleared from it. As a direct result the festival opened one 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.”
In addition to blaming Agar for the late opening, the statement alleges he failed to construct several requested overflow entrances to the festival site.
“Despite the delay opening, it became apparent that the bridges that the festival had requested be built from William Brown Street into St John’s Gardens to ease congestion had not been built,” it continues. “We believe that these were the sole reason for the bottlenecking that occurred. We requested that these be delivered by Mr Agar’s production management as agreed, and they clearly were not.”
“Mr Agar and the team he appointed to carry out the production sadly did not deliver the site as ready in time for 11am”
Hope & Glory has directed festivalgoers to ticket agencies for refunds.
O’Hanlon’s account of a breakdown in communication between promoters, production company and local authorities might have been easier to swallow had the festival’s Twitter account not spent much of yesterday attacking artists and ticketholders.
The festival’s now-deleted Twitter account, @HopeAndGloryFes, began Sunday by announcing simply “No festival today”, before sparring with angry fans and telling James frontman Tim Booth to “go back to [his] yoga” after calling the festival “fucked up”.
O’Hanlon, who also runs communications/events agency tinyCOW, made headlines last year for a dispute with the Manx government over loss-making concerts by Tom Jones and the Jacksons.
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