MP Andrew Turner has called on the Isle of Wight Council to review the increased limit of 90,000 people at the Isle of Wight Festival in the light of the widespread disruption.
In an interview with Radio Solent this morning, festival organiser John Giddings said he had reduced the number of tickets on sale this year to 55,000, compared with 60,000 last year, however the event was licensed earlier this year for up to 90,000.
But Mr Turner claimed the limit was too high and said many Islanders were dismayed about the gridlock on many Island roads yesterday (Thursday) and the impact it has had.
He said the reported problems included extremely lengthy journey times, patients unable to reach St Mary’s hospital to keep appointments, people facing nightmare journeys to get to and from work and school days and important examinations disrupted.
Hundreds of festival-goers had to sleep in their cars overnight with many complaining there was no information about what was happening.
Mr Turner said: "The problems have been very much worse than in previous years. The weather has played a part — that is beyond the control of organisers.
"However the ground was already wet and recent rain has been forecast for some time; expected traffic can also be forecast with some accuracy. Despite all that it appears that inadequate contingency plans and preparations were in place.
"The most pressing issue over the next few days is that the Festival goes off safely and that mainland traffic gets off the Island with the minimum of further disruption to Islanders and Island life. I know the Police and the Council will be working towards that and I hope the problems experienced yesterday will not be repeated as revellers leave the Festival site.
"However, lessons must be learned. Most people are not killjoys – they expect some inconvenience over the Festival weekend – but there must be a limit. That limit has been reached. The permitted Festival size was increased to 90,000 this year – that is too many and not all the tickets have been sold; if they had been the problems would be even worse. The Council should review that decision in the light of the widespread disruption and problems. They must also ensure more stringent and effective preparations and traffic plans are in place before the event can take place in future.
"The Isle of Wight Festival is good for the Island – but it must not be allowed to disrupt residents’ lives to the extent it did yesterday."