2020-11-15 10:09:20 UTC
British festival-goers have said they are "devastated" after
arriving at a music festival in Belgium to find out it had been
VestiVille was due to take place in Lommel this weekend, but the
mayor of the city told the BBC he shut it down because of safety
One woman, who said she spent hundreds of pounds on the trip,
said: "We got there and no-one was being let in."
Another attendee compared it to 2017's disastrous Fyre Festival.
Organisers of hip-hop festival VestiVille - which describes
itself as "the gateway to an urban oasis of music" - said the
decision was taken after discussions about the safety of the
public and performer A$AP Rocky.
They added they are consulting with their partners about refunds.
Sammy, 24, from south London, said she and three friends paid
more than £200 each for tickets, travelled over 10 hours to get
there via ferry and spent nearly a £1,000 for accommodation.
"We got there about half an hour late and no-one was being let
in," she said. "We were all stood at the entrance wondering what
"Everyone was shouting, 'What the hell's going on!'"
Footage and photos from the scene show crowds waiting in
Sammy, who didn't want her second name used, said "it all went
wrong" when she saw A$AP Rocky - one of the festival headliners -
had posted a tweet cancelling his set moments before the
festival was due to kick off.
Rapper A$AP Rocky, who was included in the star-studded line-up,
along with Cardi B, Migos, Ja Rule and Ashanti, tweeted:
"VestiVille!!!: I won't be performing today due to security and
infrastructure concerns which relate to the production of the
"The promoters told me it would be handled but unfortunately for
you and me they didn't."
Image Copyright @***@ASVPXROCKY
Sammy said she found out about the event on Instagram and was
looking forward to attending her "first ever festival" but the
excitement soon turned into panic when she saw an angry crowd of
people waiting at the entrance.
"There were only about 10 to 15 security guards there. Then we
were told the mayor had decided to cancel the event.
"It was mad. People started flipping tables and barging past."
On Friday, VestiVille told ticketholders on social media that it
had been cancelled.
"Today at 5:00 PM the mayor of Lommel decided to not let
VestiVille start," a statement from organisers read. "After
consultation with the security services and A$AP Rocky's
security officer, it was decided that the safety of the artist
and the public could not be guaranteed.
'Didn't want festival deaths'
Bob Nijs, mayor of Lommel, told the BBC he had been in talks
with the festival organisers since January.
He said a few days before the event, he raised concerns, but was
told it would be ready.
"In the evening when we came back we saw they had worked hard,
but there were still problems. There were no emergency exits,
the stages were not safe and they only had about 30 security
"It was a difficult decision to make, but I didn't want to be
the mayor to say, 'Sorry your son or your daughter died at this
When Sammy and her friends managed to make their way on to the
festival site, she said it was a sorry sight.
"Inside? There was nothing. There were lots of little kiosks,
but no staff. And potholes. The ground had so many potholes,"
Melissa, 23 from south London said she was "so disappointed".
"I have been planning this since February and saving all of my
money to pay for it. I thought it was going to be like
But the student said it was more like the infamous Fyre
festival, which became the subject of two documentaries.
Fyre was billed as a glamorous party on a deserted island but
when people arrived the site was still unfinished.
Inside the world's biggest festival flop
"I really don't have that much money to be wasting on festivals
that don't even happen," she said.
"We bought tickets for the whole weekend. You can imagine how
expensive that is."
Despite the disappointment, Sammy and Mellissa said they made
the best out of a bad situation.
"To be honest I had so much fun. I met so many people too! We
ended up jumping on the stage having our own festival," Sammy
In their statement, VestiVille added: "Production and suppliers
have given everything to make VestiVille possible. The campsite
will remain open for the time being and an organized festival
exit will be organized in consultation with the municipality.
"The organisation will now consult with their official partners
about a refund."