Published on August 1st, 2017 | by voxx0
YNOT Controversy – Mature decision to cancel or cover story?
YNOT?, a Music Festival located in the Derbyshire Peak District, was cancelled during the course of weekend, sparking a huge outcry by festival goers with many demanding a full refund. The event was cancelled on the Sunday morning, therefore meaning a complete day of acts was called off, including headliners Two Door Cinema Club and Happy Mondays. Signs of the festival going downhill were present even on the first day of the festival, with headliners of Friday night The Vaccines being cancelled due to the stage being ‘unsafe’. Clean Bandit performed earlier in the day and only played four songs before leaving the stage, having played under gazebos to keep the electrical equipment and themselves dry.
Before the festival’s cancellation, there were many complaining about the poor organisation and lack of security, with many taking to twitter after the festival’s early ending. It also became apparent that over 50 tents were raided and stolen from and there was a complete standstill with cars leaving the events car park on the Sunday. The poor management of the early departures of the festival-goers apparently caused 3 hour waits for some just to leave the festival site by car. From face value, it’s evident that the festival was a disaster, although the organisers justified the cancellation of the festival’s final full day due to safety concerns. It rained prolifically on the Friday, causing the fields surrounding the main arena to become a marshland of mud. Although on the Saturday it only began raining in the evening – a lucky escape for the festival-goers who could walk around for the majority of the day. It is true the mud became increasingly harder to walk through as the festival went on, however many began questioning both why YNOT hadn’t prepared for a common weather pattern for England in terms of staging, and also how the wet conditions are dealt with at many festivals across the UK – with many crediting Glastonbury 2004 for carrying on despite worse conditions, along with Leeds 2016.
As the tired, disappointed and frustrated festival goers left YNOT Festival, the power of social media took hold. Examples include @ell_whitehead tweeting: “Paying £140+ to watch ONE act, kill your legs & be dripping in mud; probably returning with pneumonia, is not my ideal weekend”. Though passing through the many complaints some began speculating as to why a festival was cancelled for circumstances that are very common nature for a festival. This resulted in many people beginning to scratch beneath the surface, and some began hearing of inside sources such as vendors and workers around the festival. One in particular came out saying he was woken early on the Sunday morning, and was told the festival had been cancelled due to the Festival Organisers actually losing their license over welfare concerns. This potentially makes safety concerns ‘due to mud’ a facade for the truth, which would make the organisers appear both inadequate and deceptive.
The results of the weekend are still developing; YNOT immediately issued a statement after confirmation of Sunday’s cancellation saying the topic of refunds will be dealt with in the coming days, after they first speak with insurers. The event director John Drape said he was “gutted” at the result of the weekend, and said the organisers had “meetings every six hours to discuss things like weather conditions and ground conditions”. Despite the controversy and disappointment caused by the festival, many including myself still had a great time. Also despite the understandable outcry, many mentioned that they understand the safety concerns and respect the decisions made by the organisers, despite missing a third of the festival. It is very rare for a festival to be cancelled part way through, and the way the organisers handle the refunds, frustration and rumours in the weeks to come will be very interesting.