Bloc festival closed amid chaotic overcrowding
One of the UK's largest electronic music festivals was shut down last night after fears about safety at the new London Pleasure Gardens next to Royal Victoria Dock.
Amid chaotic scenes, police had to help people leave the renovated brownfield site after concerns about overcrowding escalated.
The festival was meant to conclude today but organisers have cancelled the event and told people to stay away.
Rapper Snoop Dogg was the headline act while Orbital, Gary Numan and and roster of other acts were lined up for the 60,000 sqm space in the shadow of the Millennium Flour Mill.
One concert goer, Jamila Scott, said that there were two hour queues and people had burst over the fence.
She told dummymag.com: "People surged toward the front and jumped over the barriers by the toilets. There was then a stampede, with scores of people jumping over. Security went insane, screaming and shouting to try and stop it. Eventually though, they gave up and let anyone in."
Another person caught up in the chaos was Scott Stewart. He said: "I saw people getting crushed against metal fences when they were waiting to get in. At points crowds pulled down a fence and charged in as they got so fed up. I was genuinely afraid for my own safety."
Music writer Dan Hancox tweeted: "Bloc is um a disaster right now. We're in the middle of a car crash. Could it just be shut down?"
Lauren Strain wrote: "Scary, and very nearly led to injuries; all we were told was 'move back' - where to exactly?"
Police used a metal fence to pen crowds into separate areas until they left.
A statement from LPG last night said: "We can confirm that this morning at 00:45, following advice from the Metropolitan Police, Bloc was subject to a controlled shut down due to health and safety concerns.
"London Pleasure Gardens are currently co-operating with police to ensure all visitors leave the site and commence their onward journeys safely.
"Our number one concern is always public safety, and sometimes tough decisions need to be made by on-site security, but we always act as we believe is necessary at the time to best protect visitors."
Ticket prices had ranged from £55 to £125. There was no immediate news about refunds.
Before today's event Bloc said: "By now everyone will have heard that Bloc 2012 was closed due to crowd safety concerns.We are all absolutely devastated that this happened, but the safety of everyone on site was paramount.
"Given the situation on the ground, we feel that it was the right decision to end the show early. Bloc will not open on Saturday so please don't come to the site."
It is the first time the Bloc festival had been staged outside a holiday camp.
London Pleasure Gardens opened last weekend with the Paradise Festival. The opening was delayed by a few hours because the site was not ready and it was clear during that event that work still needed to be done.