Helen S, London - United Kingdom - on 7/7/12
Pulse Towers yesterday was an excited place to be. After weeks of anticipation, Bloc. festival was finally just around the corner and we spent the day fending off calls for last minute press tickets (all taken), questions about where to buy tickets (all sold out) and sorting final preparations about how to get there, who was on where and at what time. Yep, the line up of the season was about to come to fruitiion. What could possibly go wrong?
Last night, Bloc. festival took its first steps into central London. After six super successful years taking place in holiday resorts championing some of the most important sounds on the underground, the two day event was about to become one of the largest urban festivals in the UK with a line up to match. With performances from the likes of Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Will Saul's Aus label roster, Digital Mystikz, Space Dimension Controller, Jamie Jones, Gary Numan, Pariah and the rather special headline slot reserved for Snoop Dogg last night, Bloc. was promising to be the festival of the year. Add to that the innovative central London location, replete with deep sea fishing vessel, Ceephax Acid waltzers and floating cocktail bar, and you had a recipe for the ultimate underground weekend knees up.
But, it pains us to say, something went disastrously wrong last night. On arrival at the site, queues stretched half a mile down the pathway of a very busy highway and none of the security seemed to have any idea what was happening. Once inside, there were reports of hundreds of ticket holders having pushed over barriers to gain entry and the queues continued all around the site - people pushed up against barriers for toilets, for arenas, for the ship and even more people just wandering around the site, not knowing what to do. After waiting outside for some time, we squeezed into the Carharrt Dome to witness Will Saul smashing out some of the biggest tracks of the season from George FitzGerald and Bicep, but the sound was like listening to your nextdoor neighbour but one's turned down stereo. He may as well have been playing nursery rhymes up there. On trying to leave, none of the exits were open aside from the one we came in, security couldn't direct us and there was no hope of getting in elsewhere - to quote a security guard on the door; "We're at capacity in there, you can't go in, it's dangerous."
And that's exactly how it felt - on the verge of something dangerous. Too many people trying to squeeze into too small areas and nobody in control of what was going on. Amidst reports on Twitter and Facebook of 'car crash' and 'disaster', we decided to leave the site but had to walk around for 30minutes, being directed from one gate to another, before we managed to get out. At the last gate, we had to demand to leave, only to be greeted on the other side by a mass of potential ravers trying to get in. We told them not to bother.
Disappointed is not the word. Bloc. promised to be a world apart from the regular festival. Instead, it was shut down by police just half an hour after we left and will not open for business today. We at Pulse sincereley hope this doesn't damage the good name of Bloc. as we know how much hard work had gone into the weekender, but lots of very important lessons will be learned from this and hopefully it will come back better and stronger next year. A statement on the site reads as follows; "By now everyone will have heard that Bloc 2012 was closed due to crowd safety concerns. We are all absolutely devastated that this happened, but the safety of everyone on site was paramount. Given the situation on the ground, we feel that it was the right decision to end the show early. Bloc will not open on Saturday 7th July so please don’t come to the site. Stand by for full information on refunds."
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