Organisers of a Belgium festival, which was to take place from 28th-30th June, have received huge criticism after fans arrived only to find the event had been cancelled.

Festival-goers were quick to express their anger on Twitter, with some comparing it to Fyre Festival in 2017, to which fans were promised a glamorous party with luxury accommodation, with tickets costing up to £75,000. They were instead treated to meals of bread and cheese, rain-soaked mattresses and had their luggage mishandled.

A-list artists such as Cardi B, Jason Derulo, A$AP Rocky and Future were set to perform at VestiVille in Lommel but the mayor of the city ordered the cancellation, citing issues with safety. 

Possible festival deaths

The mayor of Lommel, Bob Nijs, told the BBC that he had raised concerns days before the event but was assured the festival would be ready.

He said: “We saw [the organisers] had worked hard but there were still problems. There were no emergency exits, the stages were not safe, and they only had about 30 security guards.

“It was a difficult decision to make but I didn’t want to be the mayor to say, ‘sorry your son or daughter died at this festival’.”

A$AP announced he was cancelling his performance just hours before the event was due to open.

His statement claimed “security and infrastructure concerns” relating to the show’s production prevented him from performing. He also stated that the show’s promoters had promised these concerns would be dealt with in time but “unfortunately for you and me, they didn’t.”

Organisers also released a Twitter statement, citing safety issues regarding the public and A$AP Rocky himself as the main reason. It read: “After consultation with the security services and A$AP Rocky’s security officer, it was decided that the safety of the artist and the public could not be guaranteed.”

The festival experience

When unsuspecting fans arrived at the festival, they were refused entry and left stranded without food or drink.  One fan said: “There were only about 10-15 security guards at the entrance. Then we were told the mayor had decided to cancel the event. It was mad. People started flipping tables and barging past… inside, there were loads of kiosks but no staff.”

Festival-goers, some spending hundreds of pounds on attending the event, are concerned they will not get their money back, though organisers have claimed they are consulting with their partners about refunds.

The festival, which is described on its website as “a moral law” that gives “soul to the universe”, remained open until an organised exit was arranged. Organisers’ said: “Production and suppliers have given everything to make VestiVille possible. The campsite will remain open for the time being and an organised festival exit will be organised in consultation with the municipality.” 

Subscribe to e-newsletter updates Keep up to date with the latest news

Join 15,000 + #eventprofs and get our e-newsletters direct to your inbox

Areas of interest
Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com