The Vestiville hip-hop festival in Lommel (Limburg) was scheduled to start yesterday at 6PM. The doors would open at noon, but a couple of hours later there was nothing but chaos. About 1,500 festival-goers had been waiting in the blistering sun for hours, without receiving any information, when they finally heard the festival failed to get the go-ahead. Dozens of angry and frustrated people stormed onto the site and started hurling empty cups and cans at security staff. Police had to send extra staff to keep things under control.
"I had no other choice", Lommel Mayor Bob Nijs (christian democrat) said about his decision. "After taking soundings from security teams, the only conclusion was that the people's safety couldn't be guaranteed. It turned out the conditions had not been met. I don't want to tell any parent tomorrow that we let the festival take place, but that something happened to their offspring at an unsafe event." (story continues below the video)
I had no other choice
There were problems with the cooling systems in the first aid units, and many things on the site were still unfinished. The cancellation was soon confirmed on Twitter by one of the main acts, Lord Flacko Jodye II, putting an end to visitors' uncertainty.
The judicial authorities apprehended the organisers, taking them in for questioning. They are charges of fraud, as detectives suspect thay worked with false invoices. The three are foreigners, two allegedly have a Dutch passport while one is said to a business partner from London.
The Festival was expecting 35,000 enthusiasts
The Festiville festival was expecting some 35,000 people. 500 of them spent the night in tents on the site anyway, as they couldn't return immediately. The consumers' rights organisation Test-Aankoop is advising all festival-goers to launch an official complaint to get their money back, at least the money they spent on entrance fees. Tickets were at 80 euros per day, and over 200 euros for the whole weekend. It will be much harder to get compensation for other expenses such as the trip to Lommel, food etc.
There was some good news for those who couldn't depart immediately: a chip shop came to the site to give free Belgian fries, and a DJ set was staged to bring some atmosphere.