Entourage Project have announced their decision to move the second Waterworks Festival to Reading town centre, following apparent issues over licensing at Lagoona Park, causing a swift and sharp backlash from Reading Uni students.
Many of you will have seen the Instagrams, Snapchats and tweets that are coming out from Miami and a small Island in the Bahama’s, following Ja-Rule’s disastrous Fyre Festival. Cancelled before the first act took to the stage, thousands were left stranded in the Caribbean, having paid between $450-9,000 for the privilege.
Entourage Project’s annual Waterworks Festival is miniscule by comparison, taking in 3,000 people for one day of events, and was set to take place in over month (7th June), at Lagoona Park just South of Reading. However, Waterworks announced via Facebook on 3rd May that due to ‘circumstances outside of our control’, the venue has been moved to Reading town centre across a number of venues, a far-cry from the 4-acre lakeside park promised originally.
A combination of sources at Lagoona Park as well as inside Entourage Project have told the Spark Newspaper that the ‘unforeseen circumstance’ is a lack of licencing to use the Lagoona Park premises after-dark. Local residents and councillors protested the second EP event at the park, citing numerous noise complaint in 2015 as cause for concern over the upcoming event. As this meant Entourage could not gain the necessary bar licencing for the all-night festival, it seems EP were left with few options other than to change location.
As expected, the festival page has already received backlash from close to one hundred ticket holders, many asking outright for refunds or questioning the value that alternative venue will have compared to the original site. Politics student Daniel Burke was quick to label the event ‘Waterworks-Gate’ in homage to the 1973/4 debacle that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
A Reading University student expressed their annoyance at Entourage, stating bluntly “that EP [Entourage Project] are ‘wastemen’ and y’all been played. Students should just come to union on Wednesday”.
A number of students have questioned the extent of Entourage Project’s planning, with a strong-selling event having to be moved due to the lack of one of the most basic elements of a festival, it would seem reasonable to assume EP had thought through the ins and outs of Waterworks 2017, although unlikely not on the scale of Ja-Rule’s Fyre Fest.
In 2015, EP’s original Waterworks did take some retrospective criticism for the ‘carpark atmosphere’ of the site, and students making comments regarding the lake being fenced-off despite advertising that suggested otherwise, “extortionate” bar and food prices, and “ridiculous” queues for onsite toilets and facilities. 2017’s event was set to rectify some the first year’s failings with bigger and better facilities, and an equally as good line up including My Nu Leng and Preditah. Rest assured the bathroom situation has been resolved.