Having written a blog post about 2.8 Hours Later in Bristol at the weekend, it reminded me to write a post about Grillstock in Bristol [logo above from website here] which a group of friends and I went along to in June. Grillstock is a BBQ & Music Festival, held on the Bristol Harbourside. I'm a vegetarian, so this may seem like a strange choice of event to go along to, however I was tempted by the music programming and knew there would be a few veggie treats on offer too.
As you would imagine, there was a large amount of meat and meat based products at the event, which my friends enjoyed a lot. I'm not really sure what we were expecting, but it did seem to be mainly a large food and drink fair, with little return for your £11.50 plus booking fee ticket price per person. There were some tasters, however not a huge amount of entertainment or content to justify the ticket price.
I'm lucky enough to go to lots of cool events and generally sing the praises of the experiences and organisation, however I'm afraid this is a rather negative review. Read on if you don't mind me having a bit of a rant on my soapbox...
Working in events myself and going to many outdoor events as a customer also, it's not rocket science to know that you need adequate numbers of toilets at an event, especially an event where the primary attraction is a lot of food and drink! There were only 15 Portaloos on site plus a disabled loo, which was hugely inadequate for the number of people there. There were insanely large queues for the loos at all times, with no urinals available for blokes, which would have hugely speeded up the backlog of people. It also quickly became apparent that there was no plan in place for emptying the loos throughout the day, and every one of the small number of loos on site were overflowing half way through the day. I know Portaloos are never really a pleasant experience, but this situation really was a joke.
Secondly I had noticed on I noticed on the Grillstock Facebook page prior to the event that they had promised a better bar system and more bar staff than the previous year. I didn't attend the previous years event, but I can't imagine the length of the queues and customer frustration last year, if this year was apparently an improvement. Upon arrival we headed to the bar and waited for 25 minutes to be served. There were eight bar staff working, but only three actually doing anything at any given time. The lack of action was mostly due to the lack of pumps and staff standing waiting at the till. Logistically the bars were badly laid out, clearly not being properly managed and lacking bar staff who have been trained to multi-task or work in a fast-paced environment.
Overall these two main logistical problems left us feeling disappointed, as they're really rather important things you would expect from a food and drink event! I'm not one to pick people up on every little problem at an event as there is a lot to consider and I know how hard people work to make these things happen, however these problems simply came about due to poor planning and cost cutting in the wrong places.
My friends and I won't be returning again, however I sincerely hope the organisers learn from their mistakes and actually act on it next year; not just promise they will like they did this year.