Review: Bloc

Like a nervous teenager fumbling sweatily at a supermodels swimsuit, Blocs 2012 festival attempt never lacked ambition. Sadly, in hindsight, the vacancy of common sense is what caused embarrassment just as the finish line was in sight.

Ironically the anticipation which they had so successfully conjured from social media sites and high profile advertising made closing its gates prematurely considerably harder. Bloc was, in its early form, a thing of beauty. From website to line up to venue, elegance oozed from every pore. The excited chatter between ticket holders were fuelled by photographs of the converted ship and venue ‘Stubnitz’, as well as imaginative and interesting promo videos exposing the headliners first experiences of musical inspiration. So when the lights went off and doors slammed shut on disappointed faces, anger rather than sadness hung among the bloated crowd.

Aside from the hacksaw sound mixing in the main arena (which totally cut apart Amon Tobin’s and MF doom’s sound quality during the entirety of their set), the over selling and management of tickets was the sole reason for Blocs failure. Few people were given wristbands or had their e-ticket scanned, leading to multiple people cruising through on just one pass. Within hours of opening, the gates were closed whether you had already paid or not. The first word of closure from within the venue came moments before Snoop Dog was due to emerge on stage backed up by a live band. Boos and bottles erupted as the hostile crowd were kept in the dark for close to an hour, before a carefully worded announcement asked everyone to leave the stage immediately.

Hostility was, luckily, subdued by fierce disappointment. Perhaps none quite as unforgiving as the man who travelled from Australia just to attend Snoop’s set. After another hour kept in the dark, the throngs of crowds were pushed on to the street and left to sulk in the surrounding car parks and pavements. Many faced a stinging taxi fare back to their respective homes. Florescent jacketed officials peppered the crowd, their faces showing no sign of remorse for a Flying Lotus-less weekend. Before long the blind hope of a second night was floating face down in some dark corner of the dockland.

Perhaps the possibility of a Bloc 2013, constructed with the same finesse but carried out with a higher standard of professionalism, will make up for the Basil Fawlty style execution of the 2012 edition. Until then, Europe holds the best hope of finding a festival to quench your alternative music thirst.

Words: Charlie Wood