Isle of Wight Festival revellers forced to sleep in cars

 

Hundreds of revellers have been forced to sleep in their cars after traffic became gridlocked when the Isle of Wight Festival site turned into a mudbath caused by heavy rains.

The queues caused ferry companies to suspend their services and about 600 people were stranded last night on ferries on the Solent as the boats could not be disembarked because of traffic build-up on the island.

The problems started after heavy rain fell yesterday, water-logging the event car parks at Seaclose Park, Newport, meaning that they became churned up with mud as cars began to arrive.

This led to the car parks becoming inaccessible and long queues forming, stretching back to the port towns of Ryde and Cowes.

Police led many of those waiting to Newport Football Club where they were given shelter overnight.

Now organisers are urging anyone still waiting to get to the island to leave their cars.

A festival spokeswoman said: "If you are on the mainland we are advising people not to travel by car.

"There is a ferry service for foot passengers and this will be the easiest route. We are sorry for any disruptions caused."

Promoter John Giddings said in an interview with BBC Radio Solent: "Believe you me, I am doing everything in my power and the police are telling me to do everything in my power, because they want an emergency plan from me by Sunday about how we are going to get people out."

Fiona Gregory, from Salehurst in East Sussex, said that she had left home at 1.30pm yesterday and was still stuck in queues in the early hours of this morning.

She told the BBC: "I'm so upset. It's a complete disaster. On the island it has been a nightmare. There is no police, no diversion signs, nothing.

"Now we're about two miles away on a country lane and we have moved one mile in the last four hours."

More than 50,000 people are travelling to the festival which is being headlined by Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.

Entertainment started last night for those who had reached the site although the Big Top stage was evacuated at one stage because of heavy wind and rains although did reopen again for headliners Primal Scream.

The Charlatans also played an exclusive warm-up gig at Spitbank Fort, a Napoleonic Fort in the middle of the Solent, organised by Absolute Radio.

A spokeswoman for Wightlink, which operates ferries from Portsmouth and Lymington to the island, said services had resumed as normal this morning.

She said: "Our ferries are currently running to schedule and on time."

Last night, members of Vectis 4x4 Response, a voluntary group which helps in emergencies, helped tow 358 vehicles to the car park.

John Marr, of Vectis 4x4, said: "We had eight vehicles on site. Even with a police escort to get us in, it took us an hour to get there.

"We moved 358 vehicles that were stuck in the mud. There is only one way into the car park and the conditions were the cause of all the hold-ups. We aren't to blame, but we did our best."

People have reported on social media sites how school buses have been stuck and cancelled because of the tailbacks, leading to pupils walking home in the rain yesterday.

Other people reportedly affected have been patients trying to reach hospital as well as those attending funerals at the crematorium close to the festival site.

A statement by Hampshire Police placed on Twitter said: "More car parks are open around the Seaclose Park site but IW Festival goers and residents are advised to still expect significant delays today.

"The festival's emergency liaison team is working closely together to explore other options to reduce traffic queues and minimise disruption as soon as possible.

"These options include opening other car parks across the island.

"Our priority is to clear existing traffic on the island and provide more welfare and refreshments to motorists in queues.

"Some motorists remain parked at Newport Football Club."

British Red Cross emergency teams have been helping campers at the festival deal with the extreme conditions.

They advised fans to ensure they are well prepared with the right clothing, food, equipment and contingency plans.

Donna Taylor, senior emergency response and planning officer, said: "Red Cross teams of staff and volunteers have been out responding to the disruptions caused by the wet weather at the festival.

"We deployed a team last night (Thursday June 21) to support emergency services and have been attending to first aid incidents helping the injured within the festival area itself.

"Our event first aid teams are on hand to assist people and are primarily based in the Strawberry Fields and Big Top area of the site, as well as being on foot patrol and on call to support other emergency services across the camp."

Traffic to the festival site eased this afternoon after cars were diverted to Robin Hill Country Park where a free bus service was laid on to take people to the festival site.

But access to the main stage area was delayed when high winds sparked safety concerns after a light apparently fell to the ground.

Because of the delays in opening the main arena, first act Feeder started playing to an almost empty field.

After their first song, as the crowds started running in, the lead singer said: "Hurry up, they're coming in."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015