Not so Mint Fest

They couldn’t even organise a piss-up in the Tetley Brewery.

Live electronic music event Mint Festival took place at The Tetley on Saturday, but many were left appalled by long queues of up to three hours and overcrowding.

The festival has been running for five years and this year’s line-up was made up of well known electronic artists such as Kerri Chandler, Skream and Patrick Topping.

With ticket prices of up to £60, festival goers felt angered by the amount of time they had to queue and the copious amounts of people there.

However, the event did split opinion, with some people posting on Mint Festival’s Facebook page saying that they enjoyed the event and didn’t find the overcrowding any more severe than typical club nights.

Nevertheless, these reviews seemed overshadowed by more negative ones.

People’s complaints included a lack of security to monitor crowds, lengthy and badly organised queues and reduced sound quality due to the residential area that the event was situated in.

Alice Yates, a Journalism student at Leeds Beckett, described her experience: “I left at about 7pm due to being crushed, panicked and stone cold sober. I wasn’t prepared to spend any more money on what was a poorly organised piss-up in, ironically enough, a brewery.”

Festival goer Amber Lowndes also stated: “I’m embarrassed for the organisers really, it was a shambles. We left early because we couldn’t even get to the tents, and the queues for the toilets were ridiculous – we basically paid to queue up, get pushed around and trod on.”

Some attendees have alleged that the event oversold its tickets, however Mint Festival have denied this allegation, citing problems with fraudulent tickets and people entering the event without tickets.

Tilly, a second year history student who attended the event, said “We ended up leaving early because we knew there was no point trying to get into the Elrow tent – it was a shame the event was ruined simply by the crazy amounts of people

“One of my friends queued for three hours”

Mint Fest was celebrating its 5th year.

Even those on the guest list have stated they were subject to queues that exceeded three hours and, were told that they had to pay a compulsory ten pounds to a charity that, at the time, was unspecified.

Those on the guest list who had forgotten to bring cash and could not pay the £10 donation were then allegedly refused entry.

James Bate, who was reviewing the event, said that there were only two people in charge of dealing with the lengthy guest list and also mentioned that even once inside the festival, attendees were subject to lengthy queues for food, drinks and wristband tokens.

Unfortunately this trend continued at the Mint Fest after parties, with people complaining that they spent £10 on an after party ticket, queued up for over an hour in the rain and then when they reached the front of the queue were turned away as it was over capacity.

There were also a number of claims that the event ran out of bottled water towards the end of the night.

Miss Yates claims that many bars ran out of water and Carlsberg by the end of the night, so all that “was available were liquor/spirits and £20 bottles of wine”.

Issues with drinks were exacerbated by the wristband system used on the day which, although attendees were able to top up in advance, meant many had to top up with money on the day in order to buy drinks.

People complained that this actually led to more queues and some were unable to get the money on their wristbands back at the end of the day.

Scott Forrest, an Event Management student at Manchester Metropolitan, said that: “Tokens for drinks were pointless – they didn’t reduce the queues but made two instead.”

This is not the first year that there have been issues with crowds at Mint Festival, as in 2013 the event called a last minute site change due to a huge demand for tickets.

The site moved to Lincolnshire Show Ground, leaving many who had booked hotels in Leeds in preparation for the weekend at a loss, as limited return travel was organised. Mint Festival have issued a statement in response to complaints: “The Management Team at Mint Festival values its audience greatly and takes any complaints very seriously. We listen and act upon customer feedback to improve the quality of our events year on year.

“We are saddened that a number of festival goers experienced problems, and in particular queueing times considered to be excessive, and are sorry for any distress caused.

“The safety of our festival audience is our priority above all and as such we were careful to manage ticket sales and announced that the event was sold out two weeks in advance. Tickets were not made available in excess of safe capacity for the venue although we did experience many fraudulent tickets as well as attempts to enter without a pass.

“Prior to the event stringent measures were in place and this was approved by authoritative safety advisors. However, we appreciate that at certain times there was crowding on some walkways where we were forced to put one way systems in place in the interests of safety. Mint Festival was the first sell out event for this venue and all parties involved will be sure to address these issues for future events.

“We did endeavour to encourage early arrival but inevitably there was lengthy queuing at peak times due to the popularity of the event. This was hindered by opportunists without tickets due to the city centre location, and excessive fraudulent pass attempts. It is not fair to our ticket paying customers to allow these attempts to pass.

“Mint Festival has grown to become a renowned institution for the exploration of electronic music and continues to attract world leading artists to its bill. It is our intention to carry forward this legacy in years to come and as such new measures will be in place from Mint Festival 2017 to rectify these learning experiences.”

Polly Hatcher & Jessica Murray

(Images: Ticket Arena)

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