's much-anticipated move to London from its usual leisure resort seat seemed to truly revive a London party scene that we hadn't seen for some time. With a lineup that continued to raise eyebrows, and introduce groundbreaking new artists to enthusiasts, Bloc promised quite a weekend. That's not to mention a carefully curated derelict industrial venue and the opportunity to pull shapes on the iconic culture boat, MS Stubnitz.
Sadly, from the time that we arrived at the venue, it seems that this excitement may have bubbled over into chaos last night, as we witnessed hours of queues, stringent searches and desperate measures to contain the crowds rushing to see the next act in a stellar bill. Further exasperation seemed to be brewing in the two hour queues for entry into the Stubnitz to see DJs like Redinho, Nathan Fake and Joy Orbison spinning in the bowels of the ship.
We were only able to see Nicolas Jaar's excellent set, and parts of Amon Tobin's bass-riddled set that threatened sensory overload, orchestrated from within some sort of ice-cube structure. As Doom put on the Metal Face, crowds were being controlled at the entrance to the main arena, and tempers were certainly frayed. By the time Snoop Dogg was due to be on stage, it was all but impossible to enter any of the live venues. All-too-frequent were conversations between festival-goers who had spent hours queuing, and were yet to hear a beat of music, or even see anything other than a queue and a burger van.
As the police intervened to control the crowds of people unable to enter any of the venues, the organisers decided to halt proceedings and call it a night, citing crowd safety as the reason, and staff and police made an excellent effort to ensure that the swelling crowds remained safe and under control. One of the more exciting parts of the evening was an impromptu sixty person drum choir of frustration beaten out on one of the containers surrounding the venue.
We have since heard that the organisers have also called off any plans to continue the festival on Saturday too, and plans are being drawn up to organise refunds to disappointed ticket holders. Some positive rumours on social networks suggest that some artists are organising alternative parties this evening to try to soothe some of the chagrin caused by last night's proceedings.
Whether this was a cause of bad organisation or just bad luck, we'd rather not speculate. What is obvious is that while there was clearly a lot of thought that went into building a hard-to-beat lineup, and creating a venue that is about as unique as it gets, there seemed to be a lack of foresight around the physical capacity of the venue, and the popularity of such a unique, and highly anticipated event.Oliver Spall
17:53 - 07/07/12
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