'It was like Fyre Festival' - hundreds of families demand refund over Fortnite festival flop
PUBLISHED: 16:42 16 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:03 17 February 2019
A highly-anticipated gaming festival has left hundreds of families with young children angered and disappointed after finding hour-long queues and "rubbish" activities at the event.
Fortnite Live at The Norfolk Showground was billed as a “fantastic event” with “awesome activities”, but young sullen fans of the video game phenomenon Fortnite were so unimpressed with the event they resorted to playing with sticks in a field.
An event organiser claimed visitors had enjoyed themselves at the show and the main problem lay with staffing issues, which led to long queues forming at the start of the show.
He added that the festival organised by Exciting Events, which began on Saturday, would continue on Sunday.
Families who bought tickets to the two-day event - some as early as September with many bought as Christmas gifts - queued for more than an hour to enter.
On top of the £13.95 ticket, visitors were required to purchase a £20 wristband to take part in the “specialist activities,” such as archery and laser tag, with many having to wait again for another hour in long queues to participate.
But parents and children were shocked to find the arena filled with a few activities that were not related to the popular game.
Although a live games activity with 73 consoles had been set up for avid gamers, other activities which did not require a wristband included a bouncy castle, basketball shooting and a flossing dance competition on a small stage.
Mothers and fathers waited for more than an hour in a long queue which spilled out of the arena doors to get a refund.
Floods of comments appeared on the Fortnite Live Facebook page with customers airing their frustration and comparing the event to the 2017 Fyre Festival, in the Bahamas, in which thousands of festival-goers who paid up to £75,000 for tickets slept in soaking wet tents and were fed soggy sandwiches.
Steve Patrick travelled from Terrington St Clement to attend Fortnite Live with his wife and two children.
“There was nothing there,” he said. “We were there for half an hour, the queue for a refund was massive.”
Speaking whilst waiting in the queue for a refund, Philip Hinchliffe, from Norwich, who brought his 11-year-old son to the event, said: “He’s out in the field playing with sticks, he’s having more fun doing that than he did at this event.”
Lucy Walters, who was with her son Harvey, 11, said: “It was pretty rubbish. We queued and queued and queued for nothing, we bought wristbands but there was nothing there.”
When asked what went wrong, events organiser Shaun Lord said: “We don’t know.” He said there had been staffing issues which resulted in long queues forming at the start of the event. “That was the biggest problem,” he said. “We had a bit of queuing at the beginning and that in turn got people in a different mood before they even got in.
“We put on a fantastic show with lots of activities and lots of people enjoyed themselves.”
Mr Lord did not reveal how many refunds were issued to customers, but added: “We are dealing with everybody on an individual basis.”
When asked whether he thought the show went well, he said: “Yes, absolutely.”