Mud bath at T in the Park leaves fans marooned

Police help one driver out of the quagmire. Picture: Hemedia
Police help one driver out of the quagmire. Picture: Hemedia
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T In The Park organisers have apologised to revellers who were caught up in late-night, five-hour traffic delays in deep mud.

Fans took to social media yesterday to criticise the crowd control at Scotland’s biggest music festival as the jams led to massive delays.

Nice venue but disastrous organisation. Take it back to Balado!

Fan Sue Blakemore

Some of the 85,000 fans with tickets refused to return to the new venue at Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, as a result and chose to watch it on TV instead.

Cars were left stranded in knee-deep mud and tractors had to be called in to drag them free. Organisers blamed fans walking on exit roads to an unofficial campsite.

There were also allegations that crowds had to knock down fences to avoid being crushed.

A spokeswoman for T in the Park admitted there was a bottleneck and wet weather had caused cars to be stuck in mud.

But she said this affected around only around 100 people trying to exit after the late-night Saturday show. She added: “As soon as we became aware of the situation, we sent a response team of security guards and a medical team to manage the area. We apologise for any distress the fans involved may have experienced; however we can confirm that no one was hurt.

“Safety at the event is our highest priority and we have closed down the surrounding food units for a short period of time to create more room while we monitor the area closely.”

On their official Facebook page, the organisers said: “We would like to apologise to everyone who was affected by the traffic delays coming in and out of the drop-off points.

“Please know that we are truly sorry for the experience some of you had. The wet weather is making it difficult to get you all out as quickly as we hoped but we are doing our best and with the help of some tractors and ground chips, we should have you away as soon as possible.”

Criticism about the organisation came after Andrew West, 36, from the north of England, was found dead in a toilet on Saturday. His death is being treated as unexplained, there are thought to be no suspicious 
circumstances.

The apology, however, was not good enough for some posting comments online.

Sue Blakemore said: “Too late – we have decided not to come along for day three. It was unsafe queueing to get in and we are not risking the car park today. Driving home to Newcastle to watch on TV. Nice venue but disastrous organisation. Take it back to Balado!” Gregor Bogle added: “It wasn’t just the traffic delays. Your crowd control was non-existent!

“People charging the entrances, knocking over fences to get in, children caught in the stampede. Then at night an utter shambles at the bus pick-ups, two hours’ wait in the rain just to get on a bus.

“No wonder people were fighting – you caused a lot of anger.”

Matt Barrie added: “This is the worst-ever T. You would think they’d have some people to properly organise the event. As far as I can see, the venue isn’t fit for purpose. The arena is either too small or badly laid out. Dangerous bottlenecks between stages is a disaster waiting to happen.

“Outside there are almost single-track roads with some closed. Why? What if a car or a bus breaks down? How’s it getting out and emergency vehicles getting in?”

A spokesman from Strath-allan T Action Group, which campaigned against the staging of T in the Park at the estate, said: “The council bowed to political and commercial pressure and allowed [organisers] DFC to adopt an experimental approach in their planning and delivery of the event.

“We are now seeing the results of that experiment. The council have no choice but to review their decision to allow the festival to take place at Strath-allan in 2016 and 2017.”

Police Scotland reported around 40 arrests at the event and there were 500 visits to the hospital tent.

A video showing a man being hit with a bottle is also under investigation.