'We're sorry' - Heveningham Hall fireworks organisers apologise after 'chaos'

Indie rock band Razorlight playing to the audience at Heveningham Hall fireworks

Indie rock band Razorlight playing to the audience at Heveningham Hall fireworks - Credit: Alex Parnell

Organisers of the Heveningham Hall fireworks display have apologised after many people were unable to get into the venue to see the display on Saturday night. 

They say they were "overwhelmed" by the number of people who attended the event, and are offering refunds to anyone who was unable to get in.

Indie band Razorlight headlined the fireworks event, held on Saturday night in the grounds of Heveningham Hall, near Halesworth. The hall is owned by billionaire Jon Hunt, founder of the Foxtons estate agency.

Customers flooded social media with complaints, with reports of gridlocked traffic in the area and chaotic scenes. Some people say they queued for three hours and still failed to get in.

Tickets for the event cost £35 for a vehicle if booked in advance, or £40 on the gate, with pedestrian tickets £15 per adult and £5 for children. 

Organisers said in a statement on Sunday morning: "We would like to apologise to those who were unable to enter the site ahead of the fireworks at our annual charitable event.

"Despite the tireless efforts of our stewards and volunteers from the local community, we were overwhelmed and totally underestimated the response due to a number of factors including not having last year’s event, the headline act attracting many more people and favourable weather.

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"We will be undertaking a full review to improve our access arrangements.

"We will, of course, be issuing refunds to those who had purchased tickets in advance but were unable to enter the site ahead of the fireworks."

One person who tried and failed to attend the event said: "Several thousand pre-paid like myself and my family were left in queues miles long for over two hours on dangerously overloaded roads in the area, cars crushing past each other and aggression and anger all too apparent.

"We had arrived near the site just before 6pm.

"There was absolutely no way that any emergency vehicle needing to attend the site would have been able to get through, which is so dangerous."

The event has been described as chaotic by visitors who struggled to get into the venue

The event has been described as chaotic by visitors who struggled to get into the venue - Credit: Phil Colling

Another said: "The road was total chaos, no control for pedestrians or people entering or exiting. It was so poorly lit in the car park area that it was hard to even know where to go. There was not a single bit of signage, no staff and it was a dangerous environment to have families walking through traffic."

One man said: "We arrived an hour early, having purchased tickets in advance, to be stuck in a queue for over an hour, resulting in us only being able to hear the fireworks from afar, trapped between hundreds of cars both in front and behind, all of us blinded by the shrubbery that blocked all view of the show we had paid to see."

However, some of those that did make it into the event said they enjoyed it. 

One person said on social media: "We expected a queue, we did queue, it's part and parcel of an event like this.

"Excellent firework display, good food at reasonable prices with queues that moved quickly. Yes it was busy but hope loads was raised for local charities, thank you for an excellent evening."

For more info about receiving a refund contact the organisers via email - fireworks@heveninghamhall.co.uk 

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