Isle of Wight Festival: Inaccurate information blamed for problems

By Suzanne Pert

Monday, November 19, 2012


INACCURATE information about waterlogged car parks at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival has been blamed for much of the traffic disruption that brought the Isle of Wight to a standstill in the summer.

The finding has been made in a report to the economy and environment scrutiny panel, released today (Monday), ahead of its meeting next Monday.

The report came as councillors today (Monday) considered an application from GKN that the festival should have its licence reviewed as a result of the disruption.

According to the economy and environment scrutiny panel report the council, police and ferry companies were given inaccurate information about the rate vehicles were entering festival car parks on the opening day.

That delayed a decision to start using alternative car parks and other traffic management arrangements.

The result was traffic queues, vehicles being held at Fishbourne, ferries from Portsmouth being unable to offload and congestion in Portsmouth.

The report said while comments were received in the aftermath regarding the location of the festival, the council maintained the current site was appropriate and at this stage it was not intending to discuss alternatives with the event organiser.

Although the festival licence allows for 90,000 people on site, including staff, organisers had capped the number of those attending at 55,000, making it smaller than in previous years and with fewer vehicles.

The panel is due to hear that numerous traffic management changes were made for Bestival in September which proved successful and the same principles will be applied to future Isle of Wight Festivals.

At today’s meeting of the regulatory committee GKN claimed its production facility in East Cowes was badly affected by disruption, to the cost of £50,000, which it wants the Isle of Wight Council and festival organisers Solo to reimburse it for.

Festival organiser John Giddings told the County Press that if the licence was withdrawn he had an alternative mainland site lined up.

The committee has yet to make its decision.


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Displaying the last 10 of 16 comments - Show All Comments

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by John Lennon

20th November 2012, at 14:57:52

I went to the Bestival and the organisation was second to none! There were metal roadways in place in the car parks and bus parks in case of bad weather but they weren't really needed. The Bestival is organised by Rob Da Banks - an islander who actually cares about the island, not people like Giddings and the IW Council! I hate the IW Festival when it comes. It just causes chaos and mahem. Have you ever tried to find a pub anywhere that you can get a decent sunday lunch? No, because they are full of muddy, dirty fesival goers! About time it was scrapped. I would be leaping for joy if it was!

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by andy churches

20th November 2012, at 10:03:03

I don't care either way whether or the Festival stays here or not -Giddings is a business man, and no matter what he says about doing the Island a favour, he is only interested in his profits. He could learn a few lessons from the bestival organisers - they seem to do a much better job of it.
What really bothers me, though, is the way the council seem scared to say anything against Mr Giddings and the festival in general, yet they roll over and give in, as soon as a few Arreton residents moaned about the Moto cross event being held near to where they live.That was a well run event that caused little disruption, and was enjoyed by a huge number of people.
Still, one rule for one, etc, etc.................................

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by Yvonne Carter

19th November 2012, at 21:55:03

Thursday 21st June - it took me over 8 hours to get my son to and from school. It was crucial examination period and the school was open because of this. The school did close the Friday and Monday and the pupils lost at least two days schooling. No wonder the Isle of Wight is second from the bottom in the education lists. Why is our childrens education being messed about so we can hold a festival during examination periods? Education should be a priority.

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by Yvonne Carter

19th November 2012, at 21:47:32

John Giddings has a mainland site lined up - great! Island festival goers won't have a problem with that and island residents (AKA as RATEPAYERS) can continue to use Seaclose Park rather than lose the use of it for a month or more. Children can use the skateboard park every day and walkers will be able to walk along the river. Footballs pitches will not need to be repaired. School can continue to educate children and pupils will be able to take their examinations. Sounds perfect to me! I've yet to see what we get out of holding the festival in Newport. If you have tried to get into Newport in the mornings you will know the traffic is stacked backed to the Crematorium, or like today to Lushington Hill. Newport is not the place to hold a huge event like this when it is struggling with "normal" traffic. Newport has hardly any independent shops so all the money spent goes back to the mainland via Morrisons, Sainsburys, Red Funnel and Southern Vectis. Sad but true.

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by tess smith

19th November 2012, at 19:00:06

Lets face it every one knew the bad weather was coming -we had a wet build up to it !
Signs and every thing normally go up a moth before the festival this year they went up a week before! no organisation this year was a joke from start to finish !
As for what it does to the island -well- the super markets are busy, roads muddies and full of rubbish roads jammed ,makes every one late for work and makes them go the back way out of newport,most of the people employed to work it are mainland, security food stalls, drink stalls why not use island product? - who benefits - iow cc supermarkets-wightlink and redfunnel every one else has to work around it ! as its in the middle of the island take it to west wight

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by Mike Crowe

19th November 2012, at 17:25:58

The H.M.S.Collingwood Open Day was cancelled because the parking areas were waterlogged a couple of weeks beforehand. "What will they be like on the day? Can't take the risk of causing mayhem", so the Senior Service acted accordingly.

The festival should have been cancelled, .........................

BUT ......

MONEY rules the Isle of Wight County Council

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by Don Prescott

19th November 2012, at 16:58:25

As I understand it from residents local to Seaclose, the problems were caused by huge lorries carrying the infrastructure necessary for the festival entering the site during torrential rain on the Wednesday and Thursday morning to "set up".

This churned up the site SO badly that it became impossible for smaller vehicles to get onto the site and led to festival-goers being unable to drive their cars/vans/campers onto the site, which, in turn, caused the back-up to the ferry terminals.

I have a great deal of sympathy for residents whose world was turned upside down by Giddings lack of forethought that the torrential; rain would eventually cause.
If he indeed does have an alternative venue then go for it and stop putting the arm up islanders backs.

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by Neil Hartland

19th November 2012, at 16:44:01

Had Mr Giddings spent a few quid on metal tracking to put across the fields, the chaos could of probably been avoided. I mean it wasn't as if the wet weather wasn't expected as well as he knew that the ground was already wet from previous rain fall. Also, has anybody actually seen a copy of the emergency traffic plans?

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by Alan Hunter

19th November 2012, at 16:05:13

If GKN thinks they should have compensation then what about everyone else? If they feel so hard done by then they should be doing something positive and talking with all parties involved to find some common ground not winghing on about it.

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by Patrick Hall

19th November 2012, at 15:57:28

If he's got an alternative site, who cares?

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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