Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 14:10 UK

Fans angry at festival 'shambles'

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Music fans in front of the stage at the Zoo8 Festival
A number of acts cancelled performances on the main stage

Angry music fans have complained after some of the top acts pulled out of a music festival held at a zoo in Kent.

Dizzee Rascal, currently UK number one, Athlete, The Rascals and Wiley scrapped sets at the Zoo8 event at the weekend.

Some fans have also told of queuing for hours to enter the site, a lack of water taps and insufficient toilets.

One festivalgoer, David Haskoll, said the festival was a "complete shambles". Organisers said the early teething problems were dealt with.

The inaugural event, next to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Ashford, helped raise money for wildlife conservation projects, the organisers added.

Dizzee Rascal was due on the main stage on Friday, but was replaced at the last minute by fellow British rapper Lethal Bizzle.

Mark Ronson at the Zoo8 Festival
Mark Ronson came on to the festival stage wearing a monkey mask

Mark Ronson, The Cribs, The Hives and Ash were among the acts who did appear.

Port Lympne Wild Animal Park did not organise the event but was working with the event's promoters to raise awareness and money.

But the park's managing director Bob O'Connor told BBC Radio Kent the zoo had to step in to pay Ash to ensure they got their fee and guarantee their performance.

Ash bassist Mark Hamilton told BBC Radio Kent: "We didn't know if it was going to go ahead earlier on. There were a lot of issues with the promoters."

As well as the withdrawals from the main stage, the second stage was closed for much of the festival after its tent became unstable.

"The Tap 'n' Tin Tent, which was the second stage, had to close temporarily on Saturday and permanently on Sunday," a festival spokesman said.

The Hives at Port Lympne animal park
The Hives visited the zoo before their performance on Sunday

"On Saturday the infrastructure became insecure and was then fixed and the evening went ahead in there. When the high winds picked up on Sunday, it was necessary to close that down."

Fan David Haskoll said there were four toilets and no taps in the campsite, while the toilets in the main arena were "full to overflowing".

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 organised, badly informed. Worst fest ever!"

'Some hiccups'

A spokeswoman for the park said: "As with all music festivals, there were some hiccups.

"This being the first Zoo8 at the park, there were bound to be some problems but they were all resolved quickly and efficiently, mainly by our own staff who stepped in to sort things out.

"According to St John Ambulance, Health and Safety, the licensing office, environmental health and the police, they were all happy."

A spokesman for Kent Police said there were no major problems, while Shepway District Council said there were concerns about the toilets but organisers responded quickly.


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