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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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Joe Duffy's switchboard lit up like a firework with complaints about this 'Spooktacular'

Ticket-holders faced queues of over three hours on Friday. Organisers have admitted the night was “mayhem”.

ORGANISERS OF A Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ event in Kells, Co Meath, have admitted there was ‘mayhem’ at the site on Friday night, with disappointed customers complaining of hours-long queues, lack of information, poor lighting and not enough stewards.

A number of callers to Joe Duffy’s Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1 today said they had queued outside the event for over two hours without getting in.

Others spoke of chaos in the car parking area, with motorists asked to drive along muddy tracks not suitable for vehicles.

Contacted by TheJournal.ie this evening, Ben Dillon, one of the event’s organisers, conceded there had been problems on Friday night but said they had been rectified by the following day.

Far from Spooktacular

The website for the ‘Haunted Spooktacular Horror Farm’ at Grove Gardens in Kells offered the chance to step inside “your own personal horror movie”.

“Journey through frightening theamed [sic] indoor & outdoor areas where your worst nightmares come true and anything can happen.”

spook1 Source: Halloween Spooktacular

Ticket prices ranged from €18 to €23 and were available either on the door or in advance, via online sales. Customers booking online were allotted a time to turn up to gain entry.

One Liveline caller, Nicola Phelan, said she had attended the event with a group of nine or 10 friends.

“We started queueing at around half eight,” she said.

“It came to about ten o’clock. We were still in the queue. We had moved I don’t know – not a whole lot – and we enquired then about how much more we’d be waiting.

“We were told two hours more. So we couldn’t really wait that long.”

They asked for their money back but were told it wasn’t possible.

“A few people in our group did go back the following night. The tickets were validated for Halloween night and that was fair enough.”

Another attendee, Jack Madigan, told Duffy he had spent “most of Friday night queueing” in Kells.

“From the moment we arrived I knew we were in trouble,” he said.

“The gate was all muck. They’d no bark, mulch or gravel or anything to put down. Cars were getting stuck going in and out.”

He added:

“They had no stewards in the field to organise parking.”

He said he had been there for around an hour and a half before making contact with a steward and being told it would be another two hours of a wait.

He returned home to Kilkenny, but made the journey up the next day again “on principle”.

“The event itself I enjoyed that’s not what I had the issue with,” he added.

Source: hauntedspooktacular/YouTube

A third caller, Clare, told a similar story. She and her group queued for an hour or so in one tented area, before being shown into a second tented area to join another queue where their tickets were taken and checked.

Once they reached the head of that queue they thought their wait was at an end – but they then entered a large barn with a queue snaking all the way through the building.

They had already been queuing two hours at this stage, she said, and were told they would have to wait another hour-and-a-half to get in. After complaining to staff, they were fast-tracked to the top of the queue and allowed into the attraction.

Response of organisers

Ben Dillon, event and marketing manager for the Haunted Spooktacular, said he hadn’t heard today’s Liveline programme yet, but that he would listen back.

Asked if he was aware of complaints over queues and other issues, Dillon replied “not really”. In responses to further questions, however, he admitted Friday had been “mayhem” as organisers struggled to deal with the volume of people who turned up.

“People who did queue were happy.”

He said tickets had pointed out customers could expect to queue for up to 90 minutes.

Asked to explain the queueing times of over two and three hours, Dillon said some people with tickets for later slots on Friday night had shown up early and that this had compounded the problems.

Asked whether disappointed customers could expect a further statement from organisers on the subject of refunds, he said one would be issued later today.

Read: Halloween event advertises ‘asylum’ attraction ‘filled with the crazy’

Read: Australia steps back from link with Britain by axing ‘knights and dames’ system

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