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Bloc 2012 - The Festival That Could Not Be

In my opinion Bloc 2012 was the best and most reputable electronic line up of the UK music festival summer season.  It had good quality sound systems (early on at least), London Pleasure Gardens was a nice location at the water side (even if surrounding area wasn't), and the bars seemed well run/well stocked.

Yet the various parties responsible for organising Bloc managed to screw up a winning position by failing in several key areas:
  • Although I'm sure that the footprint across the whole site was sufficient to cope with the expected volume of punters, I would respectfully suggest that the footprint of the arenas/boat alone should also have been large enough to cope with all punters. After all, that's where the vast majority of people would be hanging out. But that doesn't seem to have been the case. For example, the main arena tent was the size of one of the smaller tents at the big festivals such as Global Gathering.
  • Nowhere near enough security staff/stewards.
  • Terrible single point entry/exit system in the arenas causing queues everywhere both to get in and out.
  • Walk-ways between the arenas were far too narrow causing crowds to bunch and swell dangerously.
  • I'd be surprised if the boat met normal health and safety requirements.
  • Although I thought the sound system was of a good standard I saw comments on Twitter saying that it was much poorer later on, with one punter saying he was told by a sound engineer that they had to turn the levels down after a certain time due to sound restrictions. Whether that excuse is true or not, I'm not sure either way.
Here is the statement from Bloc's website as of Wednesday 11th July:

"We wanted to reiterate that we have launched an investigation into the events of Friday night. To that end we have opened an email address to which we would like you to submit any information you think may be relevant. We are keen to hear from you so we can build the most accurate picture and report of what happened. As ever, you guys are at the heart of what we do so please drop us a line with any comments on

Our primary concern has always been the safety and enjoyment of those attending Bloc. This is why we acted swiftly on the advice of our health and safety team who were on site on Friday evening. It was a decision that saddened the crew who have staged this festival with great success over many years.

However, the safety of those attending is our paramount concern at all times. As we have previously said, our heartfelt thanks go out to all involved in the peaceful and safe evacuation.

We would also like to make it clear that we are deeply sorry for all of the frustration and disappointment this situation has caused all of you. No one is more gutted about it than us.

Please do continue to check the site, our facebook page and follow us on twitter for further updates including information on refunds.

The Bloc team x

I do hope that the organisers of Bloc try to salvage part of their formerly excellent reputation by issuing a full refund of the ticket costs. I don't know of any music festival that would also reimburse travel and accommodation costs, so in that respect I don't think we can expect Bloc to stretch to that. So everyone will just have to accept that they experienced a lost weekend in London Docklands.

I travelled from Glasgow (Scotland), but having booked train and hotel well in advance at cheap rates, my financial hit is not so bad compared to many others. For example on Twitter and Facebook I've seen comments from people who traveled from Spain, Italy, San Francisco and Japan. Ouch!

On top of the refund a discount to a future Bloc event wouldn't go amiss either, but I'm not so sure that they will ever again run another event under the Bloc banner.  It might be better if they took 2-3 years out and came back under a different brand, as we all know that time can be a great healer, just look at politicians for evidence of that.

Despite experiencing less than a quarter of the music festival than I should have, I have made an attempt at a review, so check it out if you like verbatim accounts...

Bloc 2012 - An Account of a Cursed Music Festival

Source: djpromoter - added 11 Jul 2012


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