Let me start by stating I’ve attended numerous festivals all over the world, and the word organisation does not seem to come into Future Music Festival’s vocabulary. Firstly I purchased two VIP tickets, which were meant to provide fast lane access to the festival and this is where the downward spiral of absolute and abject lack of respect for the attendee begun.
Due to the festival management’s disorganisation, instead of being a fast lane we ended up waiting close to 40 minutes in the line due to security running out of VIP passes. It was clear the management had picked the cheapest tender for security as opposed to the most experienced for this type of event and it really showed.
Upon walking into the venue it was clear that it was still a massive building site full of dust. Ricardo Villalobos the first act we wanted to see play live and there were a bunch of young 18 – 20 year old knob-heads at the front where we were positioned throwing each other on the ground knocking into people and bruising them. We complained to the security that was in front of the barriers and they did nothing and were more interested in eating there snacks. Security were not paying any attention to the area they were meant to be supervising. Utter joke of a security company who should never be hired again.
Upon walking through the site checking out other stages there was refuse/rubbish every step of the way and no bins in sight whatsoever. It was literally like walking through a rubbish dump. And the smell was nauseating. No festival staff member could inform you where each stage was – walking between areas was an OH&S nightmare. I’m surprised the festival promoters were not fined. I’ve actually made a formal complaint to the relevant authorities with photo evidence. Walkways with extruding poles and sharp edges with no protection if someone where to fall, trip or get into a fight and been thrown onto them.
Then we went to what is supposed to be the VIP area and the line for the toilets inside where worse than those for normal punters. The supposed heightened viewing area was an absolute joke as there was a building blocking 50% of the view to the main stage. To rub salt in the already ripped off wounds the area was so over subscribed that you could hardly move and most definitely another OH&S issue. We both decided to avoid that area like the plague for the rest of the festival.
Moving on when we decided we wanted food their was only one area with limited choices and because their was only 7-8 vendors servicing 50,000 plus festival punters we waited over 50 minutes in line and still had not managed to move to the front of the queue to order and so gave up in disgust. Note to promoter of festival make sure you have enough food vendors to service the number of punters attending your event.
The only positive was seeing the Stone Roses, Dizzee Rascal and Prodigy rock tha house. Each artist put on an awesome performance. But I would suggest to artist managers and agents that it is a bad risk to align your artists with such a ramshackle and utterly disgusting promoter that show no loyalty to their festival-attending customers whatsoever.
Going further I would state any brand running activations including V and Mazda would in fact damage their brands by being associated with such disorganisation and running their activations in what can only be described as rubbish dump like conditions on the ground. If I were either of those brands I would be sacking the agency or marketing manager who signed off on such a shambles.
So in summing up I would state that Future Music Festival has to be the most disgusting and badly managed festival I have ever had the miss-pleasure of attending (little own pay for) in over close to 20 years in the music business. The promoters need to show a little respect for the punters who purchase tickets. More thought needs to go into a better venue, more food vendors, a proper environmental plan to stop it feeling, smelling and looking like a rubbish dump. Finally, serious attention needs to be paid to many OH&S issues and quite blatant violations.
The only thing the festival promoters got right was the buses to take people away from venue at the end of the festival…
On a more positive note I’m looking forward to Bluefest as compared to Future Music Festival, going on last years event the Bluesfest promoters do things properly and clearly care about their festival attendees. Keep your eyes out for my Bluesfest event report after Easter.