The £40-a-ticket Fortnite Live festival saw punters queue for 90-minutes for attractions, including a cave inside a trailer and the chance to play with sticks in a field.
People who bought up to 10,000 tickets, priced at between £13.52 and £22.15, for two further festivals organised by Exciting Events Ltd will now join a list of creditors with no guarantee of getting their money back.
Shaun Lord, 46, whose firm runs the video game-themed festivals, announced the company's closure tonight.
Mr Lord, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, made the announcement after gaming giant Epic which owns Fortnite started High Court legal action against the company.
Hundreds of fans of the online survival game demanded refunds after Saturday's event was blasted as “a shambles”.
The event was billed as the “Fornite event of the year”, despite having no official association with the hugely popular game.
All tickets for the Fortnite Live event were sold in advance but most paid an extra £20 on the day for wristbands to try out activities like a “cave experience” which turned out to be a tunnel through a trailer with a slide.
Despite there being 2,800 festival goers on the first day on Saturday, there was only room for two people at a time to try out automatic BB guns firing plastic pellets at targets.
There was also only space for four children to practice archery at the same time and just one climbing wall tower with room for only three climbers.
My husband and son have just left, I can’t believe you have charged people for that absolutely shocking non-event.
Parents claimed they had to queue as long as an hour to get into the festival at the Norfolk showground.
Staff shortages meant they then had to wait up to another hour to buy wristbands.
Several of the attractions including the 72 computer consoles available for fans to play Fortnite also had hour-long queues, it was claimed.
Organisers finally agreed to refund the cost of the wristbands after being flooded with complaints that the event was “a rip off”.
But parents then faced waiting an hour in another queue stretching 70 yards to get their refunds before heading home in disgust.
Avoid! Avoid! Really not worth it, my boys were miserable, queuing is shocking for everything
The limited attractions which did not require a wristband included a bouncy castle, basketball shooting and a flossing dance competition on a small stage.
The 2,500 ticket holders for the second day on Sunday were sent an email saying they would be refunded if they did not want to attend, although now they will join the list of creditors.
It meant only 1,000 people attended the event on Sunday, leading to only short queues, although many families walked out after refusing to pay for wristbands once they saw the quality of the activities.
Many stayed less than 30 minutes, saying that they felt “robbed”
One disgruntled mother said: “Fortnite is all about hunting people down and killing them. I felt like doing that to the people who organised it.
Others took to social media to express their fury.
Facebook user Lula Phillips posted: “My husband and son have just left, I can’t believe you have charged people for that absolutely shocking non-event.”
Sharmagne Spencer also posted on the event’s Facebook page, saying: “Avoid! Avoid! Really not worth it, my boys were miserable, queuing is shocking for everything.”
There are a lot of people who have told me they have had a fantastic time and their kids have thoroughly enjoyed it.
Oliver Phillips said he and his son Theo, 10, were at the front of the queue when the event opened at 10am, by which time early-bird ticket holders were already leaving.
He took particular aim at the cave experience, saying it was: "a trailer, no bigger than a car, with a tunnel through it".
Philip Hinchliffe, from Norwich, who brought his 11-year-old son, said: “He’s out in the field playing with sticks, he’s having more fun doing that than he did at this event.”
Lord admitted there were problems with queues as eight of his 19 staff had not turned up on Saturday.
He admitted that he had given a refund to everyone who had asked, but he refused to say how many people had claimed one, saying: “We are dealing with people on an individual basis.”
The Sun Says
High numbers of under-15s have had treatment for injuries such as repetitive strain in the past decade, NHS Digital figures show, while accidents outside have plunged.
Campaigners warned of raising “battery children”.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds is one of many calling for kids to spend more time away from their screens. We heartily back his call — and schools and parents alike should listen.
We reckon climbing trees is a lot more character-building than playing Fortnite.
But Lord added: “There are a lot of people who have told me they have had a fantastic time and their kids have thoroughly enjoyed it.
“We will take everybody’s feedback into consideration and we will act on it.”
Father-of-two Mr Lord who was assisted at the event by his wife Vicky had already sold tickers for two more Fortnite festivals in Spalding and Newark, Nottinghamshire, taking place next month and in April.
But he emailed ticket holders last night to say that his firm had ceased trading and they would be joining his company’s creditors.
The businessman said: “It is with heavy hearts and sadness that we write to our Fortnite Live ticket holders with an update on the Fortnite Live events, organised by Exciting Events Limited.
“Fortnite Live has always been an unofficial event created by Fortnite fans for Fortnite fans, and was designed around children playing the game, with the activities brainstormed by an audience of 10-14 year olds.”
“Yes there were longer than expected entrance and wristband/token queues at the beginning of the day, which caused impatience and frustration for some parents.
Fortnite Live has always been an unofficial event created by Fortnite fans for Fortnite fans
“The organisers worked through the night to address the queuing issue and emailed all of the Sunday Ticket Holders with regards to the refund policy.
“We also drafted in more staff for the Sunday, providing a speedier entrance and then completely cut out the next queue by offering wristband and tokens to purchase whilst in the entry queue.
“This was successful and Sunday visitors enjoyed a fantastic atmosphere, with less queuing to get into the event.”
Mr Lord said the legal action by Epic Games had forced Exciting Events to shut and parents would have to wait for assets to be cleared before refunds could be issued.
He added: “Epic Games, the owners of Fortnite, have now forced the shut down of the two pre-booked future Fortnite Live events, with the immediate removal of all promotional communication from the public domain, which is why you will have seen all of the Fortnite Live media disappear.
“These proceedings by Epic Games has had a catastrophic impact on the company’s ability to trade, which has forced Exciting Events Limited to cease all trading activities immediately and the director of Exciting Events will now seek to limit the losses to third parties as far as possible.”
Mr Lord said media coverage had failed to mention the “high tech gaming area”, but a member of staff from the event disagreed.
The worker said: “There were just 72 consoles for more than 2,800 people to play. Children were waiting for up to two hours and some had never played the game.
“When they sat down to play they would die and be told to get off instantly, after waiting for so long.”
A spokesperson for Epic Games said: "The quality of our player experience is incredibly important to us, whether it's inside the game or at official public events like last year's Fortnite Pro-Am.
“Epic Games was not in any way associated with the event that took place in Norwich and we've issued a claim against the organisers in the High Court of London."
Source: Read Full Article