Failure of both generators to blame for curtailed Sir Tom Jones gig

The crowd at the Sir Tom Jones concert in Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman
The crowd at the Sir Tom Jones concert in Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman

The organisers of the ‘shambolic’ Sir Tom Jones concert in Alnwick, which has sparked so much criticism, released a second statement last night – but there was no mention of refunds.

On the Loose Cannon Events Management Facebook page, director Neil Winterbottom said: “Firstly, Loose Cannon would like to sincerely apologise for the way concert-goers were left feeling after the Tom Jones concert on Saturday 8th August. All complaints are being recorded and will responded to as soon as possible and within 28 days.

Queuing for refreshments. Picture by Jane Coltman

Queuing for refreshments. Picture by Jane Coltman

“As previously stated, a large national company provided all the power and tower lighting units for the site, this included two large synchronised generators that provided all the production power. Synchronised units are always used on events of this nature to allow a seamless crossover should a fault occur on one of the units. Unfortunately on this occasion it appears both units developed faults.

“The supplier had engineers on site for the full duration of the performance. Unfortunately after a second loss of power towards the end of Sir Tom’s performance, the show came to an abrupt end.

“As a company we have commissioned an independent report into the causes of both generators failing. We are also awaiting the supplier providing us with their findings.

“We will continue to update our Facebook page as and when we can and as mentioned will be replying to customers who have emailed us.”

But this statement is unlikely to quell the unrest among furious fans who have been clamouring for their money back after Sir Tom’s show had to be abandoned before the end.

There was a power failure at the start, which caused a delay and then midway through, when the Welsh legend was singing, the electricity went completely, causing the star to walk off stage and leave the venue.

Saturday night’s fiasco prompted anger among the estimated 7,500 crowd and has led to irate fans calling for refunds or compensation. Tickets ranged from £38.50 first release to £45 normal admission and £95 VIP entry.

Those who waded in to the push for compensation include Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was at the event, and representatives from Alnwick Castle, which hired out the Pastures to organiser Loose Cannon Events.

There has also been criticism about the concert’s organisation, from long queues for refreshments following a controversial ban on picnics being brought inside the arena, to issues with disabled access and concerns about the hazards people were exposed to as they made their premature exit in the dark.

An Alnwick Castle events team spokeswoman said: “We are as disappointed as everyone else by events on the night and we are sorry that the event fell short of all our expectations.

“Loose Cannon came well recommended and were appointed in good faith as the event organiser, as the previous company is no longer trading. In spite of this, the quality of the Tom Jones concert clearly did not reach either the required or our expected standards.

“This is a shame given that in past years the event has always proved a highlight of the summer season in Alnwick.

“Since Saturday, we have been in contact with Loose Cannon to press for appropriate compensation for those who attended the event.

“We are currently collating feedback from the show and will be discussing it with all relevant parties so lessons can be learnt. This will assist in decision-making on the nature and structure of any future events held in the Pastures.”

Anne-Marie has urged anyone who attended the concert and is seeking reimbursement to email her at annemarie.trevelyan.mp@parliament.uk

She told the Gazette that she has already been contacted by more than 500 people who want money back and is calling for more people to get in touch to make the case ‘as strong as possible’.

The MP added that she has met various parties, including Northumbria Police, to put together a detailed review of all of the issues.

She said: “We have discussed the safety breeches that went on and the issues which were agreed in the management plan which were not put in place. We need to make sure we have good grounds for compensation.

“The event did not take place as organised – not only because Tom Jones had to go home halfway through, but because there were all sorts of other problems.

“I am asking Loose Cannon to provide an appropriate level of compensation to people who paid good money and were left very disappointed.

“After the concert was abandoned, I spoke to people who all agreed that the event organisation had been shambolic from start to finish.”

Representatives of Skiddle and Ticketmaster, which sold tickets for the concert, clarified that as ticket/booking agents, any decision on refunds was solely the responsibility of the event organiser.

Skiddle has told its customers that it will provide an update by 4pm tomorrow, to allow Loose Cannon to make a decision on what it is doing.

The Gazette has been told that, in line with standard procedure, a Safety Advisory Group meeting was held prior to the event, attended by representatives from Loose Cannon, Alnwick Castle, Northumbria Police, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, the Highways Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the circumstances leading to the concert’s early conclusion and of issues raised by people who attended. We are working with partner agencies to review its organisation and management.”

She added that the Pastures area holds a premises licence, which means that Loose Cannon did not have to apply to the council for any other additional consents.

Alnwick police inspector Paul Truscott said the force is seeking answers from Loose Cannon about various organisational issues.

He said: “We will be holding a debrief and this will hopefully involve the event organisers, because we do have some concerns.

“We had meetings with Loose Cannon before the event, about what was planned and how they would do it, and there was nothing to suggest in the meetings that we had that the outcome would be like it was on Saturday. As a consequence, we need answers from Loose Cannon.” He added: “I was very happy with how we policed the event. There was no crime and no disorder linked with the event. The town was really busy, but it was all good natured.”

Prior to last night’s statement, Mr Winterbottom had apologised for the concert’s abrupt end and said inquiries should be directed to alnwickenquiries@loosecannonevents.com