An independent report into this summer’s Hope & Glory Festival has concluded that organiser tinyCOW should be held responsible for its failure.
The report also found that “opportunities were missed” by Liverpool City Council to identify tinyCOW’s shortcomings ahead of the August event.
Commissioned by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and carried out by The Event Safety Shop, the report described the event management plan from tinyCOW as “not being fit for purpose” and added that the site build was delayed due to a lack of direction and communication from the company.
Whilst commending the local authority for its “substantive intervention” over the weekend, the report found that “opportunities were missed” by the council’s safety advisory group and the associated joint agency group to identify shortcomings in advance.
The report added that the council should now review the functioning of its safety advisory and joint agency groups along with premises licence and land use agreements for large events to ensure that “sufficient time and resources are available to effectively scrutinise complex event plans”.
However it’s clear that the report found the organiser tinyCOW overwhemingly responsible for the failure of the event which was cancelled ahead of schedule following safety concerns.
A selection of its failures outlined in the report include:
- 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
Mayor Anderson says: “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.
“As a result of this report, we will work with our partners to put in place enhanced planning procedures for event which will 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 the Hope & 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 full report is available to view here.