Why Van Morrison’s concert was branded a ‘shambles’

Fans at English Heritage estate gig faced alcohol shortages and three-hour queues

Van Morrison
Van Morrison on stage at the event at Wrest Park, in Bedfordshire
(Image credit: Mark Holloway/Contributor/Getty Images)

Thousands of furious concertgoers are demanding refunds for a gig starring Van Morrison at an English Heritage country estate that has been described as a “shambles”.

Around 9,000 fans attended the event on Friday in the grounds of Wrest Park country house in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, The Times reports.

But what should have been a fun evening descended into chaos that ended with some fans “caught in a three-hour queue to exit the event”, says The Daily Telegraph.

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Ali Wilson, a musician at the show, told the newspaper: “I used to go to Donington [festival] 39 years ago when it was like the First World War trenches, and even that was better organised than this.”

Concertgoers who had prepared picnics were forced to eat them outside after being informed that no food or drink was allowed inside the venue, while cans of beer were priced at £6 and plastic bottles of wine cost £30, the Daily Mail says. “The wine ran out by 8pm while support acts Hothouse Flowers and The Waterboys were still on stage,” the newspaper reports.

Even fans who just wanted a cup of coffee faced hour-long queues, and were unable to hear the live acts while they waited because other music was playing in the food and drink area. And there were more queuing problems after Morrison ended his set, at around 10pm, with a gridlock in the car park.

Wilson said: “We got back to our car at 10.15pm and sat for two hours without moving. Then someone on Twitter mentioned there was a farm road out of the estate. We followed a few cars leaving that way and managed to leave around 12.45am, but there were hundreds of cars still waiting to get out.

“There was no real marshalling, there were just thousands of cars trying to leave at the same time through the one marked exit.”

Another concertgoer, Ian Dunne, described the event as a “shambles from start to finish”.

Organisers GCSE Live issued a statement on Twitter apologising to those “who had difficulty” in leaving the venue following the gig.

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A spokesperson added that added that customers had been told in advance that food and drink would not be allowed on site and that this decision was based on police advice.

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