Leeds & West Yorkshire

Parents criticise Harewood House Geronimo Festival

Geronimo Festival 2016 Image copyright Jo Murricane
Image caption Jo Murricane said the main stage was too far away and too low for children to see the acts

An event billed as "Glastonbury for kids" has been labelled a farce by parents amid complaints of huge queues and poor planning.

Thousands were expected at the two-day Geronimo Festival, held at Harewood House near Leeds, over the Bank Holiday weekend.

But many families took to social media to complain about poor organisation at Sunday's event.

Geronimo's organisers apologised and said queues had been reduced on Monday.

The festival, started by father-of-seven Simon Goldman, was first held at Tatton Park, Cheshire, last May.

'No fun'

Its website advertises a circus, theatre groups, bands, jousting, a funfair, motorcycle displays and sheep-shearing, with tickets priced between £18.50 and £25.

Parent Jo Murricane, who had press tickets to review the festival on her blog, said the event had not lived up to expectations, and there had been an hour-long queue for the car park.

She said some families had left before they even entered, despite having paid for tickets.

Image caption Sean and Jo Murricane said the family left the festival early on Sunday: "No maps, no information, insane queues, safety issues, a stage you can't see, events running late, and misery, everywhere.

"I have never been to such a large scale event that has been so poorly organised," she said.

"There were random tents all over the place, a central arena (with nothing happening in it), and it all looked a little bit lack-lustre and small-scale," Mrs Murricane said.

"It was a family festival, and no one was having any fun."

"It's as if the masses of people were a surprise to the organisers."

Others complained of "abysmal and expensive" food stalls with huge queues.

One person on Facebook said: "We ended up leaving at 15:30 [on Sunday] with two very hungry unhappy children who had more fun at Burger King on the way home."

Image copyright Jo Murricane
Image caption Mrs Murricane said families were "sent around the houses to even get in to the festival" at Harewood House

Another parent wrote on Twitter: "Absolute shambles! So poorly project-managed and executed."

In a statement, the festival's organisers said they had extended opening hours on Monday after some guests "did not have a good experience on Sunday".

Queue times had been "significantly reduced" by Monday and festival-goers were "excited", they said.

Geronimo said it was working closely with Cheshire Council for "the smooth-running" of the Tatton Park leg of the festival at the end of May.

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