Gunpowder Plod event fizzled out into real dud

You wrote a glowing report of the Gunpowder Plod event at the Knavesmire, but it only tells half the story. Yes, the run was good fun – when it eventually started, almost an hour late due to registration problems and in a location where those accompanying us could not see us.

It is not ideal for runners to be kept waiting in the cold after they have planned food, drink and loo visits to fit in with the advertised start time. And yes, the firework display was excellent, even though that was 45 minutes late.

However, I am at a loss to understand how a company such as Rat Race, which has apparently organised events for many years, can get the catering logistics so drastically wrong.

Danielle Brodie of Rat Race says that “everyone is having a really good time” and your report says people “were kept amused with live music, entertainment, food and drink”.

We abandoned all hope of food and drink when we discovered there was a 50-yard queue to get into the beer tent – yes, into the tent, not to the actual bar! That queue merged with an equally long one at the burger stall. Friends queued for an hour and 45 minutes for hot chocolate!

Rat Race knew they had sold a certain number of tickets, so surely that should dictate a certain number of food and drink stalls. Cold and aching after standing around for over four hours, we went off to a pub.

The event may bring £500,000 to York’s economy, but we feel we were exploited. If the event is repeated next year, we certainly won’t be there.

Susan Burrows, Knapton Close, Strensall, York.

 

• Having read Tuesday’s press, I have to wonder if The Press reporter was at the same event as we were at The Gunpowder Plod (Plots, plods and pyrotechnics, November 6).

You only have to go on the Facebook page to see how many people have lodged their dissatisfaction with the night’s proceedings.

Even the poor Plodders who had taken time and effort to come to run for charity have registered their frustration.

The organisers underestimated the numbers attending despite it being an advance ticket event.

The queues for food and drink where horrendous, we waited for an hour to get into the beer tent and then just gave up.

The first announcement that the firework display was to be half an hour late had people trying to get into the tents for some warmth.

Curses reigned as the official on the door had obviously not heard the announcement and neither had people in the tent who were trying to get out as people from outside were trying to get in.

The official was telling folk that they could only use one entrance which happened to be blocked by people in the long queue waiting to be served a drink. At half-past eight we all went outside for the fireworks and had to stand for another half an hour until finally the show started.

Was the display worth the wait?

No. The event was mediocre to say the least.

The fireworks were lacklustre and although the music was passable, only one song resembled something of the event and at the end of the display there was a general stampede of people, many of whom had children crying with cold.

We never heard one person in the walk back into town who was happy. One family had paid £35 to gain entrance and they said: ‘‘Never again!’’.

Many years ago, City of York Council ran the firework events. They were brilliant, the problem was City of York Council did not charge.

Please, York council, take over again and make a charge to make the event viable. At least we would then have a decent celebration of our famous Mr Fawkes.

Linda Mansell, The Vale, York.

Comments (3)

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12:46pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Prob says...

"Many years ago, City of York Council ran the firework events. They were brilliant, the problem was City of York Council did not charge."

Yes they did. They charged everyone in York in the form of council tax.
"Many years ago, City of York Council ran the firework events. They were brilliant, the problem was City of York Council did not charge." Yes they did. They charged everyone in York in the form of council tax. Prob

2:01am Sat 10 Nov 12

Mark Brayshaw says...

Short memories or what!

The council ran the last two firework displays on the Knavesmire in 1995 and 1996. Both were plagued with problems.

1995 had massive traffic congestion and people were reportedly dumping their cars on the A64 and trying to cross all four carriageways to get to the Knavesmire. The fireworks went off very late that time too and when they did go off it was not the full promised display, just the 'trojan horse' finale.

Even if you go back to the council run displays at Cliffords Tower in 1993 and 1994, whilst they were magnificent, they were very dangerous as the burning firework debris rained down on the crowd who surrounded Cliffords Tower 360 degrees.

Maybe the Press should run a proper story and pull the info from their own archive. If not the Central Library has all the copies of the Evening Press on microfilm.

Ok so maybe the mid 90's is too far back? How about the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot in 2005? That 'secret' fireworks display was run by the council and was an absolute disgrace. Nobody could see the fireworks that year as nobody knew where to look. York was ridiculed in the international press for that display; I recall one headline read 'Gunpowder Clots'
Short memories or what! The council ran the last two firework displays on the Knavesmire in 1995 and 1996. Both were plagued with problems. 1995 had massive traffic congestion and people were reportedly dumping their cars on the A64 and trying to cross all four carriageways to get to the Knavesmire. The fireworks went off very late that time too and when they did go off it was not the full promised display, just the 'trojan horse' finale. Even if you go back to the council run displays at Cliffords Tower in 1993 and 1994, whilst they were magnificent, they were very dangerous as the burning firework debris rained down on the crowd who surrounded Cliffords Tower 360 degrees. Maybe the Press should run a proper story and pull the info from their own archive. If not the Central Library has all the copies of the Evening Press on microfilm. Ok so maybe the mid 90's is too far back? How about the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot in 2005? That 'secret' fireworks display was run by the council and was an absolute disgrace. Nobody could see the fireworks that year as nobody knew where to look. York was ridiculed in the international press for that display; I recall one headline read 'Gunpowder Clots' Mark Brayshaw

2:58pm Sun 11 Nov 12

marvell says...

Interesting how Cllr Crisp has tried desperately to distance herself from this fiasco - claiming she attended in a private capacity and that it was run by an outside organisation.
What her tweets fail to mention is that she had previously said in The Press that “We’ve been working hard with partners to ensure this happens”

Yet more rewriting of history by this hapless councillor that also got the Mayor of Tackville, I mean Blackpool, to open the also widely criticised "Illuminating York".

Amateurs employing amateurs - you couldn't make it up...
Interesting how Cllr Crisp has tried desperately to distance herself from this fiasco - claiming she attended in a private capacity and that it was run by an outside organisation. What her tweets fail to mention is that she had previously said in The Press that “We’ve been working hard with partners to ensure this happens” Yet more rewriting of history by this hapless councillor that also got the Mayor of Tackville, I mean Blackpool, to open the also widely criticised "Illuminating York". Amateurs employing amateurs - you couldn't make it up... marvell

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