Yesterday we reported on the confusion surrounding the cancellation of MiFest, a music festival planned for Llay. Local press had written that the reason was due to ‘concerns about the event field being waterlogged’ despite the last two days being the hottest of the year. Wrexham.com was told that one of the main reasons it was cancelled were due to concerns by the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) regarding the event.
We asked Wrexham Council for comment on this claim on Monday and they said: “This was a major event for the area and we worked in partnership with the organisers to ensure public safety. We agreed with their decision to cancel the event due to the waterlogged condition of the fields on which the event was to be staged following poor weather and uncertainty of any prolonged spells of dry weather over the next few weeks.”
There was no mention of any event management concerns.
Further Wrexham.com investigation revealed two meetings of SAG took place relating to the festival that we are aware of, one on the 22nd June and one on the 17th July.
In the first meeting, which was attended by North Wales Police and Wrexham Council amongst others, concerns were expressed over security and other more general event management issues.
MiFest’s organisers were then told to come back with a better plan by the 17th July, however we have learnt from an internal council source that at the second meeting Wrexham Council and other authorities again voiced concerns about event management and Mifest were given a deadline to comply with these requirements.
Following the meeting the organisers contacted Wrexham Council telling them that they were cancelling the event due to farmland being waterlogged. Council officers had visited the site days earlier and confirmed that it was “very wet”.
We requested an updated comment today based on the information we have received and this time the council confirmed the concerns over event management and gave us the statement below from Toni Salter, Public Protection Service Manager.
“Following the recent SAG on the 17 July the MiFEST Organisers contacted the council to confirm they were voluntarily cancelling the event citing the waterlogged condition of the farmland.
“At the SAG meeting the local authority and other agencies had voiced concerns about the event management arrangements. MiFEST brought MRL to the meeting, who are recognised as experienced events management consultants and the organisers were given a deadline to comply with requirements.”
We are unsure why these concerns were not acknowledged when we first enquired on Monday.
The following MiFest press release was printed in Monday’s Wrexham Leader (with no mention of the safety concerns) “It is with huge regret that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Mifest 2012 event in Llay, Wrexham over the weekend 10th – 12th August 2012.
“We find ourselves yet another casualty of the continuing bad weather. A final site visit today has concluded that the land is waterlogged with standing water and is inaccessible for at least another 14 days if the weather improves. This simply does not allow us enough time to build and run a safe event. We have come to this decision in consultation with the Local Authorities.
“We sincerely apologise to all those who we know were looking forward to attending the festival. All tickets purchased will be refunded; this process has begun but due to the high volumes of sales, may take 10 working days to be completed.”
It would appear that whilst there were valid concerns over flooding on the farmland, the event organisers have not given customers the whole picture regarding the event’s cancellation.
The press release dated 20th July has now been posted on the Mifest homepage, although to our knowledge it only appeared on the front page of the website today. It states that all tickets purchased will be refunded, but there is no mention of how to obtain a refund. The tickets page is still in operation also.
The Mifest Facebook page was last updated 19 hours ago and simply reads “Announcements are to come soon…”
Wrexham.com has attempted several times to reach the Mifest organisers for comment, however so far they have failed to return our calls.