There were definitely some issues regarding traffic, entry queues and the pure volume of attendees. There was also some issues regarding food availability due to the number of food vans on site. I was a bit concerned that I would drive an hour and a half to arrive at an event that was just as much chaos as the day before so I phoned ahead. As I was lucky enough to have press passes I contacted the PR direct and asked them to be honest with me about the event as I would have to write about my day if I attended and I gave them the option for me not to attend. After a few minutes conversation they convinced me to jump in the car and head over to Leeds to see for myself.
Now Sunday had been a sell out day and Monday was expected to be about a third of the amount of people in attendance so already I was feeling confident that we wouldnt have the same issues. We arrived at 10:30am with no queue to enter the car park or traffic on the road. We also didnt have to queue for more than 5 minutes to gain entry to the venue (although this was through the VIP gate). In fact we didn’t queue to do anything all day, well apart from a few minutes to ride a camel but we just made sensible choices on what we wanted to do (and saved the helter skelter until the end of the day when there was no queue). We managed to fill the day until the very end and still didnt manage to do even half of the activities on offer.
I am not saying that the whole day was absolutely flawless because it wasn’t. For example the stage was in a really bad position. It was fairly low and was on a flat piece of land which meant that the kids couldnt see anything happening on the stage. I think it was the same stage used at Tatton Park last year but that one was parked at the bottom of a hill which meant that there was a natural auditorium around the stage for people to stand or sit on. However this didnt impact us as we were not there for the shows and instead went off in search of all the amazing activities we could take part in. Search was definitely the right term.
The main issue we had was a complete lack of a map. I understand that the organisers would have been unable to do this until they set up but it should then have been a priority to get one drawn up and distributed (even if it was just a rough sketch for people to look at). Another issue we had is not knowing what was happening in any of the white tents or even when things were happening. This meant that we missed things that we really wanted to do such as Jedi Training and even when times were announced on the stage they were not accurate. We headed over to the circus for the 3pm show which was announced on the main stage in the morning and there wasn’t one! Luckily there was a 4pm show so we didn’t miss out.
We had an amazing fun filled day but the timings of shows and the general administration side of letting the attendees know where things were and what time they will be on was a real let down but I am sure that this will all be corrected for future events.
So now I have all of the moaning out of the way I thought I would share with you some of our highlights from all of the things we did and saw. I have to say that one of the things that Elizabeth enjoyed the most was all of the animals. She really enjoyed riding the camel and seeing the giant tortoise, ferrets and owls.
We finished off the day swinging in the hammocks and wishing that we didnt all have to go back to work and school the following morning and looking forward to even more festival fun over the summer.