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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Doubts over festival's rock plans
Essential Festival, Bristol
Organisers say no decision has yet been taken
The Essential Festival is likely to scrap the planned day of rock bands from its second event of the summer after its first event left fans angry at a string of cancellations.

The next Essential Festival, in Hackney, east London, is now expected to be cut to two days - featuring dance and roots bands - instead of the planned three.

Their festival in Bristol in early May was investigated by local authorities after the line-up on the rock day was decimated by cancellations and fans demanded refunds.

Organisers said the cancellations were for safety reasons because of waterlogging - but bands and fans questioned that story.

Independent

The line-ups for the first two days of the Hackney festival, in August, have just been announced, and feature Zero 7, Goldie, Morcheeba and Asian Dub Foundation.

Essential says it is the only major independent festival left, and so does not have the sponsors behind it to compete with bigger rock events like Reading, Leeds and the V festivals when signing headlining bands.

Bristol's rock day, headlined by Supergrass and The Beta Band, only attracted 5,000 fans to the 15,000-capacity event - leading to the cancellations.

Reef and Therapy? were among the groups to pull out just two days before the Bristol event began, citing "contractual difficulties".

Petition

Many fans who had bought tickets had paid at least 35 months in advance - and were disappointed when they got to the site to find out that their favourite bands were not appearing.

Some set up an online petition for refunds, and trading standards officers began an investigation into whether fans should be reimbursed.

Organisers say no decision has been taken on whether they will stage a rock day again.

The dance day, headlined by Morcheeba and also featuring DJ Shadow, Lamb, Black Sheep and Roni Size, will take place on Saturday 2 August.

It will be followed by a roots day, with a "very special" headliner who is still to be announced and a bill also including Ms Dynamite, Jools Holland and Femi Kuti.


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08 May 02 | Entertainment
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