Hope and Glory Festival have just issued this statement HERE . It appears they have named and blamed everybody else in the world, like, ever. They also seem more concerned about riders and sandwiches going missing? Doubtless, they have documentation to back all this up.
So here’s our experience – It was shite. And unintentionally hilarious. With punters, press and bands all looking at each other as if to say “what.the.actual.fuck. is.this”
It’s one thing to have a Victorian-themed festival, quite another to attempt to replicate the era by having an unreliable electricity supply, queues for food, a short supply of sanitation, no drinking water and even reports of short arsed pickpockets. The Hope And Glory festival came to Liverpool with big promises and generally failed to deliver on so many levels. Unfortunately, from the get-go, it quickly descended into a shambles. There are those who may not have approved of the lineup, but not sharing the same taste doesn’t mean festival-goers deserve some sort of karmic payback. Paying punters really should have been provided with a much better experience than this Craggy Island Funland shitshow.
We’re not in the business of slagging off events or promoters but when you take punters money you have a responsibility. People appreciate that things can go wrong and are willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Sh*t happens. All festivals have their challenges. They are logistically difficult and it’s imperative you have an experienced team in place and a Plan B. It’s also how you react when things go wrong that can make a huge difference. Hope and Glory’s initial response via social media has been unbelievable, arguing with and insulting your headliner! Petulant comebacks on Twitter and Facebook to quite rightly angry customers and a refusal to apologise, which only adds fuel to the fire. Blame everybody else seems to be the default position. Reports that the organiser had ran amock on the site later in the evening tearing up the stage with his bare hands and sporting what looked like a heavily powdered nose whilst howling at the moon have not yet been corroborated. The fact that he’s a dickhead has been. Multiple times.
Upon arrival any reservations about the suitability of the site were quickly confirmed and entering the main “arena” a sloping street with cobblestones, it felt claustrophobic and potentially dangerous given there were still huge queues outside. In fact, reflecting back, it’s amazing that the Council actually green-lighted this ludicrous event. An event in a culturally iconic historical place in the heart of the city, one that local promoters rarely get access to. There were no clearly marked emergency exits, people seemed to be easily ‘bunking in’ and the bottlenecks between stages looked like an accident waiting to happen.
The Pigeon Detectives apologised for the delays before frontman Matt Bowman almost tumbled off the stage after putting his foot on an unsecured speaker. And was heard to comment that it seemed people at this festival didn’t even know how to strap down a speaker stack safely. Not something you want to hear when you’re standing under one in the photo pit. Badly Drawn Boy seemed to have discovered a whole new sound – essentially Norman Collier meets My Bloody Valentine, alas this was down to technical difficulties rather than an artistic decision. He then had to resort to playing his set on the keyboard as his guitar cut out. Embrace were 3 hours late due to everything running over and after much technical fuckwittery had to go off again as their microphones weren’t working … basics really innit. Charlotte Church was dropped completely and resorted to going on to twitter to find a ‘guerilla gig.’
If it wasn’t for the professionalism of most the bands at Hope And Glory who did their level best in very challenging circumstances, to at least salvage something for the audience then things could have turned as ugly as a certain cap-wearing fuckwit’s social media tweets. James proved once more they are a fabulous live band, The Sex Pissed Dolls could certainly play their instruments with more guile than original Sex Pistols and the addition of a guest appearance by Tony Christie who probably wished he did know the way to Amarillo, added to the overall surrealness of proceedings. Lucy Spraggan eventually gave a spirited performance on the grandly named The Ages Of Wonder Stage, which perhaps should have been renamed The Wonder Of Waiting For Ages Stage.
So the lesson is perhaps for Liverpool Council to listen to the local promoters a little more closely, people who know the scene, who regularly put on big events in the city and do it without such arrant fuckwittery. Yet they often still feel they have to go to LCC cap in hand to get assistance. And perhaps the Council should learn to use the name search facility on Google.
There seems to be some misconceptions and dissembling in some areas as to how the Hope And Glory Festival came to be and issues around the capacity. We’re still waiting for Liverpool Council to investigate and what their role in this was. (Hey Angie where are Lee’s rolls ?) Doubtless, it will be ‘robust’, ‘wide ranging’ and conclude that ‘lessons have been learnt.’
Here’s some more info –
The Hope And Glory festival was originally going to be a festival with a completely different name headlined by Echo And The Bunnymen in the same area with a maximum 5k capacity. Which sounds about right given the space available. However, when Lee O’Hanlen came on board a bigger capacity was suggested. The financial arrangements and a Victorian theme replete with fire eaters, jugglers (and quite possibly break dancing elephant men) gave the Bunnymen’s team pause for thought. To be honest we’re surprised Hope and Glory didn’t suggest the Bunnymen bring on the actual dancing horses as a part of the contract such was the fantastical vision. At this point, The Bunnymen wisely withdrew leaving O’Hanlon to plough on with his unnamed named backers to fashion this most spectacular of debacles. It then became known as the legendary, vaguely Brexity, Empire humping sounding Hope And Glory festival which as we know turned out to be a festival with no backline, limited access to changing rooms, patchy sound and power supply, and bands having to get their own riders but more importantly a festival that could have led to serious injury or worse.
The capacity mentioned by Lee O Hanlon / Hope and Glory festival of 15,000 on the radio and social media was for the WHOLE site including the plateau at the front of St Georges Hall, which was used for logistics and thus not accessible to festival-goers. It also did not take into account the fact that stages, bars, sound desk, toilets, backstage, loading areas and media facilities were needed. This would obviously reduce that capacity considerably.
It will be interesting to see whether customers will get full refunds from Eventbrite the biggest ticketing agency involved. According to posts and screencaps on social media, they have apparently told disgruntled customers that before they can refund the public, H&G need to release the funds.
I imagine Liverpool Council and Bradford Council will be following this tale with interest. For very different reasons
Danny Mc Namara – Embrace
Nancy Doll – The Sex Pissed Dolls
The Pigeon Detectives
Kitty Vacant, Jilly Idol – The Sex Pissed Dolls
James Walsh – Starsailor
Johnny Borrell – Razorlight
Fashion Blogger Stephi LaReine
Tim Booth – James
Chris Helm (Seahorses)
A rare sighting – Charlotte Church actually on a stage at H&G festival in conversation with that fella from The Prodigy, or maybe Simon Price
Badly Drawn Boy
Nancy Doll – The Sex Pissed Dolls