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UK Festival Admits Cash Chaos

LONDON (VIP-NEWS) — A heavily criticized UK music festival scrapped performances by a number of top bands because Organizers ran out of money to pay them, they have admitted.

"Our biggest problem was one of miscalculation over cash-flow," said Danny Blanche, co-director of the Zoo8 event near Ashford, Kent.

"This required us to make the pragmatic decision to cancel a few acts."

He offered an unreserved apology after acts like Dizzee Rascal, The Rascals, Athlete and Roni Size pulled out.

Angry fans have inundated websites with complaints about long queues to get into the site, crowded campsites, a lack of drinking taps and insufficient toilets as well as the cancellations.

The event hosted 12,000 fans per day from Friday to Sunday – well short of its 20,000 capacity.

Qualified success
Organizers said it was a "qualified success", with good weather on most of the weekend, "a fantastic atmosphere" and "some extraordinary sets" from 150 acts.

But they "learnt some painful lessons" during the inaugural event, they added.

"Obviously, none of this was ideal or planned – and not the quality of experience that we had aimed to deliver – and for that we unreservedly apologize to all those affected by the situation," Mr Blanche said.

"We want to stress that this was our first festival and that we have dealt with all problems directly and will continue to do so in preparation for next year."

There was "some significant dissent from artists regarding payment", their statement said.

Zoo8 was held next to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, which had to step in to pay some bands and ensure the festival kept going.

Port Lympne managing director Bob O'Connor told BBC Radio Kent the zoo had to write a cheque for rock band Ash to guarantee their performance.

'Zoo rescue'

Ash bassist Mark Hamilton told BBC Radio Kent: "We didn't know if it was actually going to go ahead earlier on.

"There were a lot of issues with promoters – they didn't have enough cash to run the festival. But I think the zoo came to the rescue and took over the whole event."

As well as the payment problems, more acts were moved or cancelled because the second stage was closed for much of the festival.

One of the poles supporting its tent became unstable. This "did cause some confusion, but there was no choice", Mr Blanche said.

Mark Ronson, The Cribs, The Hives, Gallows and Pendulum were among the other acts that did appear over the weekend.

"I'm very angry at the poor organization of this festival," wrote one fan, Jane Guaschi, in a letter to organizers demanding a refund.

"If I had known how many bands would not be appearing, I would not have bought tickets for the festival."

She said she queued for four hours to get in on Friday, that the toilets were "just way too grim", even for a festival, and that staff and the crowd had no idea who was playing when and on which stage due to the line-up changes.

Julia Bray, whose daughter was at the event, wrote on a Facebook page: "Hours of queuing, campsite dreadful, bands didn't show up or moved stages, staff very rude or unhelpful."

Another fan, Rachel Collings, wrote: "Badly organized, badly informed. Worst fest ever!"

Festival co-director Matt Dice said organizers would respond to complaints "on a case by case basis".

"Three other festivals went under this very weekend – we're operating in seriously tough market conditions but we'll rectify everything from this year and definitely be back for Zoo9," he said, according to BBC