An independent report into the failed Hope & Glory Festival in Liverpool has concluded that the event organisers were responsible for its collapse.
Commissioned by mayor Joe Anderson and carried out by event safety specialist The Event Safety Shop, the report has found that organisers tinyCOW were responsible for the failure of the event in St George’s Quarter on the weekend of 5-6 August.
Mayor Anderson explained: “We are a city renowned for staging large-scale, successful events, and as a result of our reputation, we have more and more interest from the private sector in staging events here.
“We can’t accept anything that jeopardises our hard-won reputation. This is why I commissioned an independent report to spell out exactly why this privately organised event failed, and look at what the public sector could do to mitigate this happening again.
“It’s clear in retrospect that the failure of the event was down to the mismanagement of the organisers and our staff did tremendous work on the first day sorting out a wide range of issues and enabling the event to continue.”
The report describes the event management plan as “not being fit for purpose” and found that the site build was delayed due to a lack of direction and communication by the company.
The catalogue of failures:
- No signage was installed, staff weren’t briefed and there was confusion around the queueing system, with some customers being given incorrect tickets
- There was no designated area for lost children or vulnerable adults
- There was no emergency evacuation plan in place
- Acts on the main stage ran behind schedule and there were very long queues at the bars and toilets
- Members of the public felt there was significant risk to public safety
- The event manager left the site, was uncontactable and wasn’t seen again until the end of the day
The authors praise the actions of council officers who stepped in when things began to go wrong and made sure it was able to go ahead safely on the first day before being cancelled by organiser Lee O’Hanlon on the second.
But it also recommends that the Joint Agency Group (JAG) and Safety Advisory Group (SAG) – which includes the emergency services, public transport bodies, the city council and the NHS – are more involved in examining event plans and documentation in future.
It also found that background screening checks into tinyCOW through professional bodies or trade associations would not have stopped their application from being progressed.
Mayor Anderson continued: “This report was all about learning lessons, and although our procedures have served us well for the past ten years, the context and environment for staging events has changed in recent years, so we need to be honest with ourselves and reflect on the processes and procedures that are in place and react to the recommendations put forward.
Liverpool Council said as a result of the report it will work with partners to put in place enhanced planning procedures for events. The mayor has said the review aims to “find the right balance between scrutinising documents and not making the process too bureaucratic for organisers”.
“If the company hadn’t gone into liquidation, I would have asked Merseyside Police to investigate the financial liabilities of Hope and Glory Festivals Ltd. As far as I’m concerned, they have a moral obligation to reimburse disappointed ticket-holders who are out of pocket and I will be making this point to the liquidators,” the mayor concluded.
The full report can be found on the Liverpool City Council website.