‘I am gutted and deflated. Fabulous first Chilfest let down by bar firm’s blunders’

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The organiser of Tring’s first Chilfest music festival says he is gutted and deflated that drinkers faced bar queues of up to two hours at the event.

The two-day music feast at the town’s Pendley Meadow was staged by Pitstone-based entertainment firm Universal Event Production to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

Speaking to the Gazette today, director Steve Butcher said: “I am gutted and have never felt so deflated in my whole life.”

The Chilfest bars were managed by London-based party planning firm In The Spirit Events, who released a statement on Facebook yesterday apologising ‘unreservedly’ for the delays. There have so far been 122 responses to the post.

The Gazette contacted In The Spirit Events, but the firm refused to comment at this stage, saying a press release would be issued in due course.

However, a statement has been released by Universal Event Production.

It praised the ‘faultless production values’ of the event, which attracted 7,000 people on Saturday and 5,000 on Friday, but said Chilfest’s organisers ‘sympathised’ with drinkers who faced long queues.

There were no hiccups during Friday’s Chilfest, which attracted a younger audience with acts like Little Mix. But on during the 1980s-themed Saturday Chilfest, drinkers faced queues of up to two hours.

The Universal statement said: “We are saddened that this brilliant event was tainted by problems with the bar operation but really hope that our visitors still managed to enjoy the entertainment despite difficulties.

“This was our first Chilfest and overall we have had positive feedback, but suggestions for improving the bar system have been taken on board, as well as other lessons learned during the process.

“We’d like to thank our audience for their patience, for the fantastic atmosphere they created, and for being a part of something really special in Tring.”

A meeting between In The Spirit Events and Universal Event Production will be held at 2pm today.

Mr Butcher said Chilfest was ‘the best thing this area has seen’, but accepted that the bar problems had cast a shadow over its success.

He said: “I am gutted. I put six months of my life into this project, which was a massively successful event, and then to have issues with an area I had no control over – I am gutted.

“All of my guys were so upset. They have lived and breathed this project for months.”