Parents’ fury at ‘rip-off’ £30 children’s festival which turned out to be ‘wet and filthy’7 min read

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Parents were left furious after paying £30 for a ‘dazzling’ mix of live music and rides – but arrived at the children’s festival to find ‘wet’ inflatables, a £10 wristband to gain access to half the rides and ‘filthy’ play areas. 

Families who paid £30 for a ticket to Lytham Kids Festival in Lancashire have complained the ‘unsupervised’ play areas were not worth the entrance fee.

Parents say half of the rides were off limits unless they paid an extra £10 per person and the walk from the car park to the festival site was too long.

The festival, which was advertised on Facebook as ‘a event of first-class entertainment and top-notch live music for all the family’ was held at Lytham Hall over the weekend. 

Families who paid £30 for a ticket to Lytham Kids Festival in Lancashire have complained of 'unsupervised', 'wet' and 'filthy' play areas

Families who paid £30 for a ticket to Lytham Kids Festival in Lancashire have complained of ‘unsupervised’, ‘wet’ and ‘filthy’ play areas

An advertisement for the event (pictured) shows a slip and slide. Wet weather forced staff at the event to close the slide

An advertisement for the event (pictured) shows a slip and slide. Wet weather forced staff at the event to close the slide

Poor weather forced event staff to close some of the rides, including a slip and slide, for health and safety reasons, until the short bouts of rain stopped. 

And despite a note on the event description making clear tickets will not be refunded in the event of bad weather – many parents were left unhappy.     

Sarah Bargh and her partner Emma Ancell took their five-year-old son to the festival on Sunday.

Parents say half of the rides were off limits unless they paid an extra £10 per person and the walk from the car park to the festival site was too long

Parents say half of the rides were off limits unless they paid an extra £10 per person and the walk from the car park to the festival site was too long

Sarah, 41, from Blackpool, said: ‘We went with some of our friends and it was shocking.

‘The kids had been so excited but it was just a massive let down.

‘We’d paid £32 for two adults and one child. We knew you’d have to pay extra for food and extras, but we thought the ticket included everything else.

‘The advert showed a big outdoor slip and slide. When we got there, there was an area behind a security gate with about eight bouncy castles.

‘It turned out you had to pay an additional £10 per person for a wristband to even get in there.

‘There was one inflatable area that didn’t require a wristband. It was like an assault course under a cover.

‘The kids went in and it was all wet and filthy.

‘We tried to complain to someone who worked there and he said they couldn’t do anything for us.

Despite a note on the event description making clear tickets will not be refunded in the event of bad weather - many parents have been left unhappy

Despite a note on the event description making clear tickets will not be refunded in the event of bad weather – many parents have been left unhappy

‘They couldn’t help the rain but it was all really poor.’

Another mother, who asked not to be named, claimed the event was ‘absolutely appalling’ with some rides still closed half an hour after the start time. 

She said: ‘We arrived at 10.30am and a lot of the stuff wasn’t even open.

‘There was no foam in the foam area, and that was at about 11am. It was only a four-hour event so it should have been open when the festival opened at 10am.

‘So in the end we’d paid £30 to walk from the car park and back again with the kids in tears.

‘It was just a rip-off.’

Another mother, who asked not to be named, claimed the event was 'absolutely appalling' with some rides still closed half an hour after the start time

Another mother, who asked not to be named, claimed the event was ‘absolutely appalling’ with some rides still closed half an hour after the start time

A description on the event’s Facebook page read: ‘The dazzling event is coming to Lytham Hall for it’s first year on the 1st and 2nd June 2019. 

‘All the family can be entertained with live music from Little Mix and a Robbie Williams tribute, face painting, bouncy castles, bounce hoppers and slime classes within the arts and crafts area.

‘Not only will there be entertainment for the toddlers in the play area we’ll also have a sensory area for babies to roll around as well as meeting the walk around characters which you can grab a quick selfie with!! 

‘We’re looking forward to seeing how brave the adults are with our tug or war competitions, egg and spoon races and many more…so it really is excitement for all the family!!’ 

Other parents complained they were charged £8 for a Slime-making class.

And a Facebook group set up by those demanding a refund has more than 840 members.   

Organiser Katie Harris of Cherry Media UK told MailOnline: ‘The weather was intermittent so we were taking down some of the rides for health and safety reasons. 

‘Some for only ten minutes and when the rain stopped they were reopened.

‘The event went on sale a few months ago and on the ticketing pages the terms and conditions say in bad weather we can’t offer refunds. 

‘All that week it was supposed to be good weather but parents were upset when they arrived because they were wet with their children at an outdoor event. 

One mother said: 'There was no foam in the foam area, and that was at about 11am. It was only a four-hour event so it should have been open when the festival opened at 10am'

One mother said: ‘There was no foam in the foam area, and that was at about 11am. It was only a four-hour event so it should have been open when the festival opened at 10am’

‘It was out of our control so there was no reason for us to give refunds. What was there was there.

‘On the ticketing agent it says “when you buy your ticket these are the activities. If you want to buy a wristband these are are the other activities available.” It is clearly stated in the brochure.’

And, responding to criticism images printed on brochures advertising the events did not live up to expectation, Ms Harris said: ‘It was a supplier who provided all the rides and they have professional photographs of all their products. There is different lighting but it is the same product.’   

Writing on the Facebook group Amy Lou said her family were in the queue longer than the festival itself.

A spokesperson for Lytham Hall posted on the group urging people to complain to festival organisers, Red Cherry Media UK

A spokesperson for Lytham Hall posted on the group urging people to complain to festival organisers, Red Cherry Media UK

She added: ‘I have never been to anything so appalling in all my life. There was no system for anything – denied access to most things if we didn’t pay an extra £10 per child, nowhere to shelter- we were soaking, walked what seemed ten miles to even access the place with small children – they were already asking to go home before we got in! 

‘We stupidly promised them that once we got there it would be amazing.’

Other parents agreed the walk from the car park to the festival site was too long. 

Gemma Levis said: ‘I cannot believe the walk there. My four-year-old wet herself waiting to access a toilet and we had ‘VIP queue jump tickets’ that’s before we even entered the disappointment.’  

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Louise Gunton says despite advertising adult activities, including a tug of war and egg and spoon race, she could not find them at the event.

She added: ‘Perhaps the event organisers were let down at the last minute and could find enough eggs and spoons to full fill their obligations to supply what was advertised?

‘Like many others on here, I too was somewhat disappointed. The long walk from the car park was not expected as I had never been before but I supposed at least it was free to park. 

Writing on the Facebook group Amy Lou said her family were in the queue longer than the festival itself. Pictured, advertising for the festival does not mention the addition wristbands

Writing on the Facebook group Amy Lou said her family were in the queue longer than the festival itself. Pictured, advertising for the festival does not mention the addition wristbands

‘It would have been useful to have at least one public toilet accessible to all those who were queuing for almost an hour. 

‘Whilst we were not compelled to purchase a £10.00 wristband, it would be pointless to go to an event where you cannot participate in half of the activities. Try telling an excited child that they have to stand and watch the other children playing.’    

A spokesperson for Lytham Hall posted on the group urging people to complain to festival organisers, Red Cherry Media UK.

The post said: ‘This is the first time Lytham Hall has hired its ground for this event.

‘Lytham Hall is a charity, and part of its sustainable plan is to hire its outside spaces to various event organisers.

‘Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to ensuring everyone enjoys our Hall and Parkland.

‘Please be assured that the Management and Trustees of the Hall will be looking in to any complaints with the organisers.’

The spokesman said Lytham Hall had nothing to do with the organisation of the festival.