Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Boomtown Fair queues: Organisers 'did everything' to help fans

Festival-goers Image copyright Charlie Hadley
Image caption Festivalgoers reported high temperatures and sun stroke

The founder of a music festival says he and his staff did "everything we could" to help thousands of people who waited hours to get in to the event.

Lak Mitchell said weeks of rain had a "knock-on effect" on preparations for Boomtown Fair, near Winchester, where people queued for up to 10 hours.

Delays were compounded by additional security measures aimed at preventing drugs being brought on site, he said.

Organisers said queues had been cleared by 23:15 BST on Thursday.

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Water was distributed by the event organisers but some revellers reported fights, fainting and sunburn as they waited to enter the four-day festival at Matterley Bowl on Thursday afternoon.

Gates opened two hours late and a technical problem with the wristband scanning system added to delays.

'Worst field ever'

Mr Mitchell said: "The fact that people were queuing out there for hours and hours - we can't apologise enough.

"Public safety was our number one priority. We were trying to balance the searching and getting people in on time.

"It's been three-and-a-half weeks of rain. I've worked in festivals most of my life and that was the worst field we've ever, ever experienced. It was just a knock-on effect.

"We also put in additional security measures to make sure no drugs get on site - that was a whole layer we've never had before and that really did cause a big problem as well."

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Media captionOrganisers blamed the queues on increased searches and delays opening the site gates caused by bad weather

Worried parents took to Twitter to express their concern and frustration.

Caroline Channing tweeted: "The only assistance your staff offered my daughter in 8hrs of queuing was to try to sell her a festival lanyard for £10."

Liz Barker tweeted: "I have two sons: one queuing to get into Boomtown, other in Ibiza. Other son got into Ibiza (ANOTHER COUNTRY!) in less time. Ridiculous."

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