Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Great British Craft Festival

Well let me reassure you, there was nothing great about it at all.  In fact it was a total fiasco from start to finish.

Firstly it took 45 minutes to get in the car park from the motorway, a total of probably 3 miles.

We got parked and got into the exhibition centre no problem, but it was absolutely boiling in there, no air con.  All the stalls had been squished in, the space between the isles was minute and when a disabled buggy was going one way and another the opposite way there was nowhere to go, so the isle came to a standstill.

The guy announced on the tannoy that as it was hot perhaps it would be a good idea to step outside into the breeze and catch some fresh air, he also stated that there would be no problem getting back in, just show your ticket and you can come in and out as many times as you like.  So about 11.30 am as it was extremely hot, we stepped outside for a couple of minutes.  When we went to go back in we were told we were not allowed due to too many people being in the hall and it was a health and safety risk.  I explained that we had literally just walked out and she was adamant we were not allowed in.  I asked her to explain why there had been the tannoy message and she said she was only following instructions.  I asked her to go and get someone in charge but she said she could not leave the door, when one of her colleagues came along she ignored me.  Maz spotted that the guy opposite was letting people back in, so we just burst past her and went back in, followed by most of the people stacked behind us who had done the same thing.

After a few calls over the tannoy for people to go to the organisers office, there then comes a message over the tannoy saying if you have finished your shopping can you please leave as there are other people outside waiting to come in!!!  This did not go down very well and people were chuntering about the message up and down the isles!!!!

This message was broadcast at least 5 times whilst we were in the hall.

They had clearly sold way too many tickets.  This was the scene at around 1.15pm from the inside looking out.  The people on the right clearly found themselves in the same position we did by stepping outside!!

One of the organisers asked what I was doing and why I was taking photos, I explained it was a shambles and that they had obviously sold way too many tickets.  She said that all the people queuing outside had 'just turned up' and didn't have tickets.

We then caught up with Leonie and Dawn who were demo-ing on the C&C stand.

We were so hot and bothered we decided to leave and I came away with ....

Yes, I bought absolutely NOTHING!!!!! Not even lunch!!

This was the scene outside from the outside with people trying to get in the right of the building, by now it was about 1.45 pm.

The queue at the left of the building.

Finally the queue at the centre of the building.  As we were walking down the lines we clearly saw people with tickets in their hands, so they had pre-booked them.

Then to top it off this is what happened in the car park.

They had parked the cars in rows of 3, so the people in the middle row could not get out.  The lady in the pink on the left had been waiting ages to get her car out of the middle row!!  Luckily the car in front of us had gone.

They will not be having the pleasure of my company next year.  Sorry for the rant guys, but I felt it was needed especially when companies like Create and Craft and Hunkydory get involved with the organising and promoting.  Total shambles!!!

Find out what other people thought here and here

*** Edited again***
I am now totally appalled as I hear they are trying to blame the emergency services for actually taking H&S into account and limiting the number of people in the venue.  Apparently the venue is good for 4,000 people, 20,000 turned up!!!  I am still in total disbelief that they state they did not know how many tickets they had sold - greed, greed, greed.


Anonymous said...

Sam I totally agree. I think they purposefully oversold tickets just like the airlines and then expected fewer people to show due to the economy! I can understand that to some extent but this was just way too ridiculous. I would have been furious had I had driven all that way and had anticipated spending money on crafty goodies! Susan Ribbons

Anonymous said...

What a terrible time you had Sam. I am so surprised that they were allowed to stay open with this mess. Too bad the fire marshal's didn't drive by, I am sure they would have done something. Eileen

Adena said...

I agree and posted this this afternoon on the Trimcraft blog

Chris said...

Sounds like a right shambles, Sam. At least when I go to Port Sunny I know they only sell a limited amount of tickets because of H&S regs. Even then it gets really busy but they don't ask people to leave to let others in!

There will be a lot of folks saying they'll not attend this event in future.

Evil Edna said...

wow that is crap and so badly run, I would ask for your back.EE

...the yorkshire fox... said...

...oh gosh...I've never been to a show before but that does sound worrying, sorry to hear you had an awful day...Mel :(

downrightcrafty said...

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how appauling, I can imagine your total disgust and everyone else's and to think I did consider. Shame you had a horrid day and got NOTHING for your efforts to support the craft stall's who probably paid a high price for their stalls too, to be honest I can understand why it is on a forum and can see that the whole building will more than likely be empty next time, if there is one after that
Kate x

Carol Q said...

OMG Sam what an utter cock up and how frustrating.

Ginger said...

what a shambles. My sister was there somewhere. I expect she will tell me all about it. Such a shame when a day you have looked forward to turns out like this. :(( x

Sue said...

What an awful day Sam, I can't believe they were asking people to leave! I've only been to Harrogate and Doncaster Dome,and although busy you could at least walk around. Not a good day for you at all :o( x

Neet said...

Thanks for the warning Sam - just feel sorry for those who went and those who tried to get there.
Greed on behalf of the organisers.

cockney blonde said...

Hi Sam, just read your write up and then the link to the further comments. That is just horrendous. Total greed on behalf of the organisers and no consideration to the consumers.
There is another event, without publishing any details, that has recently upset consumers by trying to cram in too many stalls for the venue making it very difficult for people to move between stalls.
These events are for crafters by crafters and its about time the organisers started considering how they would feel if the boot was on the other foot.
My suggestion would be that us customers start boycotting these events until they (the organisers) start treating us with a bit of respect.
Rant over.....x

Marianne said...

This is BAD, really BAD!! And on top of that: the carpark SHAME on them!
I can imagine that you were furious and disappointed; I would roo!

Angelnorth said...

Sounds like a complete nightmare! If I was a stallholder I'd be mortified to know there were people who came away having spent zilch and with such bad experience under their belt. That car parking is not only unnacceptable it's downright dangerous. Far from apologising for the rant Sam I think you've done us all a favour in highlighting it - definitely one to avoid.

Cathryn said...

I was glad that I took my own food - I heard that the cafe sold out by 1pm! There were not enough drinks stalls and it is a wonder that no one passed out in the heat- but if they had I doubt they would have fallen down as it was such a crush. I think they made a mistake by selling tickets for both days instead of either Saturday or Sunday. However my sisters and I attended the workshop day on the Friday and found it good value for money.

sam21ski said...

Cathryn, according to other peoples comments some people did pass out which is how the ambulance service came to step in and inform the fire people of a potential H&S issue. From the sounds of it, it was a wonder they didn't just close it down!!

Also on the website (Great British Craft Festival) at 10.30 am this morning they decided to let people know if they didn't have a ticket they couldn't get in. Perhaps it would of been good to do this BEFORE people had actually set off for the day!!!!

Carol Hornby-Clements said...

Well I am glad I did not book a stand. What a nightmare. yes you are right the only people to have gained from this are the greedy organisers.
I wonder how it went today.


Daft Debie said...

Hi Sam

You are quite right HUNKYDORY CRAFTS AND CREATE AND CRAFT are only in it for the money soo greedy not content with brainwashing us on TV now we are treated like cattle

All mixed up maz said...

YES sam it was bad i will NOT go again.xx

Anonymous said...

Well I was there it was awful so amateur been to better in my local Church Hall at least you can look round in comfort.
There should be an online campaign for compensation from Create and Craft TV

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam
Have you read the latest statement by HUNKYDORY CRAFTS LTD this morning 21/08/12? They are still claiming the venue holds 6,000 people the Donnington Park website clearly states 4,000! But the best bit- on the Great British Craft Website if you go to the 'Want to Exhibit' button it claims the venue holds 8000 people! Lies lies and damm lies.

sam21ski said...

Yes I have seen their latest press release.

In it it states that everyone was in by 2pm, but these are yet more lies as if they were indeed carrying on on a 1 in, 1 out basis, I took these photos at 1.45pm. There is no way that this many people left the building for all those queuing to get in in just 15 minutes - it's just pure and simple greed and yet more lies.

Why can't you just come clean and say you made a right cock up of it instead of feeding us with cr*p.

alison said...

Unbelievable!!! I've been to lots of shows, & never known anything like this shambles Sam! xx

Moonrose said...

Well sod that for a lark!

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