GERONIMO Festival organisers have apologised after many visitors took to social media to air a string of complaints about Sunday’s sold-out event at Harewood House in north Leeds.
The two-day festival on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday was advertised as the UK’s largest children’s festival.
Organisers promised fun for families with hundreds of activities and main stage acts from TV favourites including Justin Fletcher, Mr Bloom, Alex Winters and Luke & Emma.
Visitors to Sunday’s event rased a string of concerns including lengthy queues for attractions and food, a poorly positioned main stage and lack of stewards.
Duncan Quinton wrote on Facebook: “A disgrace of an event. Who should we contact for a refund? No staff, insufficient provisions, small stage and dangerous rides that got closed for safety.”
Catherine Bagnall posted on Facebook: “Far too few facilities and poor availability of attractions because of the huge number of tickets sold. A poorly positioned and tiny stage that was impossible to see.
“Hour queues to get food or enter the attractions including the circus and helter skelter. No printed info available, no maps of event, no info on which activities required booking, very few staff available and those I spoke to knew no more than I did. For an adult event this would have been terrible but for a children’s event it was totally unacceptable. Shame on you. You need to begin dialogue with the 10,000 people you severely disappointed today.”
A spokeswoman for Geronimo Festival, said: “Geronimo Festival is sorry some visitors did not have a good experience on Sunday.
“We acknowledge there were delays accessing the festival site. We opened the car park earlier at 8.30am to help ease congestion. We appreciate this was frustrating, especially when travelling with young children. We changed the start times of the live stage shows and we extended the open hours, closing later at 6.30pm.
“As a father of seven, the festival director understands that a positive family day out is of the utmost importance.
“All feedback from yesterday’s (Sunday’s) event has been taken seriously and the team worked hard to rectify these issues where possible. We will also be responding to people individually.
“Access and queue times for today’s (Monday’s) event are significantly reduced. On speaking to festival goers today, there are many excited faces enjoying the huge array of fantastic activities available.
“Geronimo is set to return to Tatton Park on 29 and 30 May. We are working closely with Cheshire Council to facilitate the smooth running of the festival.”
James Cromack wrote on Facebook: “Once parked, there was no guidance, no stewards just a huge free for all. This is an event for young children.
“There should be some thought to how the parking and entrance to the event is managed. We had to walk from the event entrance back the estate entrance to join the back of the huge queue to get in. Absolute shambles.”
Suzanne Jackson wrote on Facebook “Very disappointed! My five-year-old kept asking to go home. Paid best part of £200 for a turn on the helta skelta and to do a drawing. We will not be going again.”
Rachel King wrote: “Very poorly organised, hard going with kids. The worst I hear was a three hour queue for a cheese sandwich.”
Kate Chandler commented: “ Was horrendous. Didn’t see Mr Bloom or anyone else for that matter. Left after couple hours as was so shocking.”
Dean Kozlowski wrote: “Far too many tickets sold and really badly organised....Queues for most things were two hours. Only five food stands so one guy had to wait two hours to get some food. Couldn’t see the characters on stage as it wasn’t elevated.”
However, some visitors to Sunday’s event were happy with their experience.
Laura Daley wrote on Facebook: “We had a lovely day my six-year-old daughter loved it. The queues were crazy but you can’t really expect anything else from such a big event can you.”
Janette Hullah wrote: “We had a great day, although it seems a lot didn’t.”
Geronimo Festival organisers are asking anyone with a complaint to email: firstname.lastname@example.org