Bloc 2012 cancelled after night of overcrowding
Safety concerns related to overcrowding Bloc 2012 led to its cancellation in the early hours of Saturday morning. Police assisted site staff in the evacuation of thousands of disappointed and somewhat subdued crowd after tensions began to simmer in the main arena.
Headline act Snoop Dogg, who was meant to appear on the main stage, never made it out onto the arena, it was with his non-appearance that the show was cancelled. Speculation was rife that he failed to turn up prior to the announcement that the whole event had been cancelled.
Festival-goers were jammed inside the main arena waiting for his arrival on stage at midnight. Every sign was there that his arrival was imminent, with his band members setting up and his banner going up as a backdrop. There were also hints of an unpleasant atmosphere building up during the performance of the preceding artist, MF Doom. The sound quality was bad – chants went up for Doom to “turn up his mic” – and people inside the main tent were complaining of long queues to get into the different arenas.
Staff began distributing – hurling – water into the crowd. A few disgruntled punters began to throw the bottles back onto the stage, narrowly missing crew- members and sound assistants. Pushing began and a few people climbed onto the stage. There was an anti-festival atmosphere building up, and it was at this point that the announcement was made, 30 minutes after Snoop was meant to arrive on the main stage.
Prior to that the ex-soviet era boat, the Stubnitz, was alive with ravers and Amon Tobin had brought his ISAM light show to the main arena. The line up was ambitious and there was anticipation and excitement, but the warning signs were evident early on, with queues stretching around the block outside London Pleasure Gardens; the queues to enter the different tents were no less impressive inside the complex. Opportunists were also jumping the walls around the vast concrete festival park.
The overcrowding was evident in the courtyard, as partygoers emptied the complex onto the streets. There are also unconfirmed reports that Police had intervened prior to 12:30am to advise that no one else should enter the complex. It is as yet unconfirmed whether overselling is also to blame.
Meanwhile XOYO, amongst other venues, benefited from the fallout from Bloc with many artists, including Flying Lotus, performing impromptu shows.
Base Login, the organisers of the show, released the following statement:
“We are currently gathering information about Friday night’s events. We are also working to ensure that everyone will be refunded their tickets. Please bear with us while we do this. Thanks to all of you, as well as the many artists and crew who travelled across the world to come to Bloc – we are so sorry that we couldn’t deliver the experience we had planned. And thanks so much to the event control, security, stewards, police and public who worked together to ensure that no one came to harm during the peaceful evacuation. This is far and away the most important result of the night.
“For those of you who are frustrated and angry: we hear you. For those sending love and support: thank you.”