Inquiry launched following Festival No.6 flooding

Councillors have called for an inquiry into why a park-and-ride site for Wales' Festival No.6 was put on a known flood plain.

Image courtesy of Peter Kerwood
Image courtesy of Peter Kerwood

Around 200 people had to take refuge at Porthmadog leisure centre overnight on Sunday (4 September) when a nearby river burst its banks flooding the car parks, making it impossible for some festival-goers to get home.

Yesterday afternoon organisers reported on the festival website that 90% of the trapped vehicles had been freed and 18 tractors were being used to tow out the remaining 10% as swiftly as possible.

Local councillor Jason Humphreys told the BBC: "Forecasters gave ample warning of torrential rain on Saturday, but once again flood management agencies failed in their duty as they seem to be completely unaware of the dangers to people and property."

But Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the event's organisers were made fully aware of flood warnings, and the final decision to use the Porthmadog site was taken by the Festival No.6 teams.

Peter Kerwood, marketing director at The Concerto Group, was among those stranded at the leisure centre. He credited the "amazing locals" who came to the rescue. "They helped pull cars out with tractors, bring food, tea and coffee and blankets," he said. "One local woman even offered a lift to anyone who wanted to get to Chester."

A spokesperson for Festival No6 said: "We have used the park and ride site at Porthmadog Rugby Club effectively and without incident for the last four years and did so again this year with the guidance and support of the authorities and Safety Advisory Group. We were aware that the site had flooded previously however we were advised by the landowners and knew from experience that the land drained well. At the time the decision was made there were no advance flood warnings and no intervention from other agencies. We contacted Natural Resources Wales and arranged preventative measures as well as investing heavily in extra infrastructure at the site but ultimately the extreme weather was beyond our control. 

"At no point over the past five years have we been advised not to use Porthmadog Rugby Club for the festival park and ride operation. We strive to deliver the best customer experience for all our guests and are genuinely saddened by the outcome of this weekend." 

The four-day music and arts event (1-4 September) saw brand activations from the likes of Volvo with its Scandinavian hideaway and soft drinks brand Firefly.

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