BLOC ORGANISERS GIVE THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY OVER SHUTDOWN
In the online speculation that followed the Bloc shutdown two key theories circulated as to what caused the over-crowding problem, one that issues with the electronic ticketing meant many more people were onsite than there should have been, the other that the festival venue, the then brand new London Pleasure Gardens, although in theory able to accommodate significantly more than the Bloc festival's capacity, wasn't ready to host an event of that scale.
In their long statement, the Bloc organisers admit there were problems with both the checking of e-tickets (with scanners) at the gates, and with the set up of the Pleasure Gardens site, though they imply that the latter was the bigger issue. The company running the London Pleasure Gardens itself went into liquidation last month, of course.
The statement notes that "we did experience problems with the management of the admission control systems" and that this led to dangerous over-crowding at the gates. Quite what those "problems" were isn't clear, though ticketing provider CrowdSurge previously told CMU "at no point throughout the scanning process did the scanners cease to operate". Either way, the problems meant that e-tickets stopped begin scanned just before 9.30pm (as CrowdSurge previously confirmed), meaning anyone with fake tickets could at that point gain entry.
The Bloc statement notes that: "Knowledge of the suspension of scanning combined with ticket touting enabled people to gain entry to the event without having purchased a ticket from our website. We'll never know exactly how many people [did this]".
However, Bloc had capped ticket sales at just over 15,000, and in theory the London Pleasure Gardens site had a capacity of 25,000, so the admission of punters with fake tickets alone cannot account for the dangerous overcrowding that ensued. The bigger problem, therefore, according to Bloc's statement, was that the LPG site just wasn't ready to host an event of this scale.
The Bloc statement continues: "It is no secret that there were serious delays associated with the building of the London Pleasure Gardens site, leading to non-completion of groundwork, venues and general infrastructure. There is no doubt that these delays severely compromised our efforts to deliver a successful production. In the run up to Bloc, much of the site remained unfinished, inaccessible or just closed altogether. For instance, the bridge connecting the main gate to the northwest of the site was never built and the grass amphitheatre for our planned Silo D cinema was fenced-off".
It continues: "Despite our frequent requests for an up-to-date build schedule, it was confirmed just two weeks before the festival that 'The Hub', a 2800 capacity high-spec venue that we had contracted to host one of our main stages, was not going to be ready for us to use. Furthermore, the large area in the south east of the site where it was to be built remained shut so that construction works could be completed in time for the Olympic period".
The Bloc organisers admit that once the number of non-completion issues became apparent they did think about what action they should take, but that as a small company cancellation or legal action didn't seem like realistic alternatives to just going ahead with the event as best they could. They add: "When the extent of the missing infrastructure was revealed, we considered our options. London Pleasure Gardens was clearly a long way from the 'riverside arts and entertainment destination' that we had hired but our relatively small company lacked the resources to cover the costs associated with a postponement or cancellation of the festival or a legal action against the venue".
Elsewhere, the statement basically confirms that ticket-buyers will not be able to get any money back from the now defunct Bloc company, and that therefore festival-goers will have to apply for a refund from the bank or credit firm who provided the card with which they made payment, under the guarantee schemes such companies offer. Many ticket-buyers have already done this, though for those that haven't the Bloc company's administrators have set up a web page explaining the process.
Overall the Bloc statement is very apologetic, both regards the events surrounding the shutdown, and the fact that - due to legal constraints associated with the administration - its organisers have not been able to issue a fuller statement until now. They sign off: "Thanks to those of you who have shown love and support, particularly over the last two months, and we hope to be in touch with you again soon".
DES MOINES MEDIC CHARGED WITH INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER IN RELATION TO SLIPKNOT BASSIST'S OVERDOSE DEATH
Although Gray had suffered from drug addiction, he wasn't taking illegal substances in the run up to his untimely death. Toxicology tests confirmed the bassist had died of an accidental overdose of morphine and fentanyl, a synthetic morphine substitute. At the time it was thought those drugs hadn't been formally prescribed, and it was noted that whoever had supplied the narcotics could face charges.
Daniel Baldi worked for a pain clinic run by the Iowa Health System, and according to the Des Moines Register has been subject to four medical malpractice lawsuits, including three wrongful death suits, mainly for prescribing dangerous levels of prescription medications to patients. The criminal action that has now been launched lists seven patients by name, including Gray, and an unnamed eighth victim.
A legal rep for Baldi told reporters that it was incredibly rare for criminal proceedings to be pursued in circumstances like this, noting that "it is unprecedented to turn unfortunate deaths or medical results into a crime against a doctor". He added that in two of the cases listed in the prosecution's papers his client had only seen the patient once, and in five cases the patients involved were acknowledged drug addicts. He added: "Unexpected deaths can occur in severe, chronic pain patients, unrelated to medical treatment. This is especially true with patients who are drug addicts or drug abusers".
With that in mind, Baldi pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges, which could result in sixteen years in jail if a guilty verdict is reached in court. Iowa Health says it suspended Baldi earlier this year, and has shut down the facility where he worked, and has no more comment at this time.
However, Slipknot percussionist Shawn 'Clown' Crahan has commented, his name, along with that of Gray's widow Brenna, being on the list of those interviewed as part of the investigation into Baldi's conduct. The Register quotes Crahan as saying: "The epidemic of this sort of activity [ie providing a ready supply of prescription drugs to known addicts] is becoming more and more evident. It truly is becoming a problem. And it trickles all the way down to the youth. And awareness needs to be brought about. None of this is going to bring back our brother Paul ... [but] hopefully justice will be served".
DRE TOPS HIP HOP RICH LIST
The full list of the 20 highest hip hop earners in 2011 is as follows...
The full list is below:
1. Dr Dre ($110 million)
SCOOTER BRAUN SIGNS PSY TO "MAKE HISTORY"
Psy is already hugely popular in South Korea, where he has released six albums, and he came to the attention of the wider world earlier this year with the release of the video for his track 'Gangnam Style', which became a viral hit on YouTube, racking up over 105 million views since July.
Speaking to MTV yesterday, Braun said: "There is one reason to do this deal... to be a part of history, to do something no one has ever done before. Psy is a guy you want to root for. I LOVE UNDERDOGS".
And now let's just get on with the main thing all of us are here for, and watch the 'Gangnam Style' video again.
R KELLY VOWS NEXT RECORD WILL BE SEXY
Asked if - given the sentimental tone of his last two LPs 'Love Letter' and 'Write Me Back' - he had dispensed with 'explicit music' for good, the 'Freak Dat Body' singer said: "Absolutely not. And I tell people [that] all the time, man. Make no mistake about it, [that] R Kelly is not going anywhere, it's just that R Kelly has such a unique talent, and I've been blessed to be able to do all type of genres of music. I'm exploring my gift right now".
Now poised to reprise the themes of the 1993 'Freak Dat Body' containing album '12 Play', R justified his more recent work by saying: "When you've done 20-something years, man, of giving people what they want, and satisfying people - people like to say they're making babies off your music, they're doing all this - it makes me feel good, but at the same time, it makes me say: 'OK, now it's time to go and do something that's in me that I want to do and get out'".
ARCADE FIRE COMPOSER SETS KRONOS QUARTET TO HUMAN HEARTBEATS
Speaking about it all to Classic FM, he says: "You find the audience paying attention to their own internal rhythms, their own breathing and their own heartbeats, and then trying to sort of match them to the performers onstage. Listening in the space between those two things happening, someone else broadcasting or amplifying or broadcasting their own internal, really quiet rhythms, and as a listener trying to see where that interfaces with your own - that's just a completely different listening experience to what we're used to having".
If you managed to follow all of that, listen to more of Parry's Classic FM interview here.
Talking of Arcade Fire, James Murphy has made vague hints to the effect that he might be involved in making their new LP. And why shouldn't he be? After all, he did say to Spin in 2010 that he had tried to collaborate with the band on two separate occasions before, but failed because of his now non-relevant commitments to LCD Soundsystem.
Asked last Thursday by Radio 1's Zane Lowe if the "AF record" was "on the cards", Murphy said: "No, no. That's not something I can talk about yet. The Abercrombie & Fitch record!"
Note the all-important "yet" in that sentence, and await official confirmation.
NEW MADVILLAIN LP "ALMOST DONE", SAYS DOOM
Interviewed by Hip Hop DX, the out-of-favour MC - who is alleged to have sent a decoy rapper to a London PA last month - spoke about Madlib and his live DJ collaborator J Rocc, saying: "You know, these niggas got some shit that's ill as hell that niggas never heard, that's as ill as any of these old breaks, but they just haven't come to surface yet. Watch when you hear the new Madvillain record. It's almost done".
So, watch (and listen) out for that. But first, why not listen to a CMU playlist compiled by another of DOOM's associates, his JJ Doom partner Jniero Jarel, with whom he's just released a new collaborative LP titled 'Key To The Kuffs'.
FIELD MUSIC RECORD COVERS LP
Tracklisting for the full covers record:
Terrapin (Syd Barrett)
MS MR RELEASING EP VIA TUMBLR
Say the band, who play live at London's Birthdays Barfly on 12 and 13 Sep respectively: "We like to think of Tumblr as a cultural collage and feel like it's the perfect platform for what we want to present with this EP. [Using Tumblr] has been such an incredible source of inspiration and support, and so in return we wanted to first share the music with the very community that helped create its visual identity".
DEPTFORD GOTH PREMIERES FIRST SINGLE FROM DEBUT LP
While the long player isn't released until "early 2013", the single is available via iTunes at this very moment.
To go with it, here's a video Woolhouse directed.
V&A DETAILS DAVID BOWIE EXHIBITION
The retrospective expo - which on Monday was marred by mild controversy over whether or not David Bowie had had a part in its curation (he hadn't, by the way), and speculation he wasn't satisfied with the selections V&A staff were making (he was, by the way) - will be available for viewing between 23 Mar and 28 Jul 2013.
Having gained unparalleled access to Bowie's vintage archive, the show's curators have selected over 300 items for public display, not least instruments, LP artwork, hand-drawn video storyboards and various iconic stage costumes.
The V&A's Geoffrey Marsh who, unlike Bowie himself, did co-curate the collection, says: "We're aiming for a ground-breaking exhibition to reflect a ground-breaking artist. Bowie has played a crucial role in the shaping of modern society because of his focus on personal self-expression. He might not have intended to do this ... but help change the world he did and the ripples of those changes continue to move outwards around the globe today".
MICHAEL FASSBENDER TO STAR IN FRANK SIDEBOTTOM-INSPIRED FILM
Following rumours that the 'Shame' actor would play a straight, biopic-style version of Sidebottom, the movie's screenwriter Jon Ronson felt obliged to clarify via Twitter: "The film isn't a film about Frank Sidebottom. It's fictional, inspired by Frank but also by other great mavericks like Daniel Johnston".
For the benefit of those who hadn't listened the first time, he added: "It's not a film about Frank Sidebottom! It's totally made up and - whilst inspired by Frank - is inspired by other people too".
So that's all fine, but the real question is, this: will Fassbender's on-screen headgear be at all "inspired" by that papier-mache face? We can but dream. And speaking of dreams, that fund to erect a bronze statue of Frank Sidebottom in Timperley town centre is still just that, a dream.
JA JA JA TO PRESENT SANDRA KOLSTAD, PHANTOM AND THE WHITE ALBUM
Norwegian alt-pop soloist Sandra Kolstad - who's also a classically-trained pianist - will play as part of the roster, as will Finland band Phantom and Danish folkists The White Album.
You can download 'Counting Treasures', a track from the latter's forthcoming mini-LP 'Conquistador', here.
Ja Ja Ja tickets, meanwhile, are available via this link.
WAKA FLOCKA FLAME TO TOUR
Waka's new LP 'Triple F Life: Friends, Fans and Family', the sequel to 2010's 'Flockaveil', is out in shops now.
4 Dec: London, IndigO2
SCARLET SOHO ANNOUNCE EP LAUNCH
The band have also announced two other UK shows in November, which will follow a European tour. Those dates are at The Railway in Winchester on 14 Dec and The Underbelly in London on 15 Dec.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
HAMMERFEST, Hafan y Môr Holiday Park, Gwynedd, Wales, 14-17 Mar: Hatebreed, Destruction, Huntress, Evil Scarecrow, Iron Saviour, RSJ, Def-Con-Once, Texas Hippie Coalition, Shear, Chimp Spanner, Abadden, Commander In Chief, Driver, Black Acid Souls, Viscous Nature, Jaguar. www.hammerfest.co.uk
SUPERSONIC, Custard Factory, Birmingham, 19-21 Oct: Moonn, Soundkitchen, Grey Hairs. www.supersonicfestival.com
AIM LAUNCHES NETWORKING NIGHT
As well as the socialising, reps from two "contrasting" indie labels will be invited to DJ at the events, with Simon Raymonde and indie duo I Break Horses representing Bella Union and Peter Quicke and Coldcut's Jon More Ninja Tune at the first edition.
Admission is free, but you must guestlist yourself to get in. AIM members had the heads up two weeks ago, but now the wider music industry can sign up too at www.musicindie.com/aimsocial.
OLD LEEDS MILL TO BECOME NEW ARTS AND MUSIC VENUE
Outlining his vision for the new space, Sound Channel's Dan Blackledge told CMU: "The aim for Canal Mills is to create a constantly evolving space for all mediums of creative output, from exhibitions to pop-up restaurants to live and electronic music events. We will be working closely with the local community as well as inviting high profile artists and skilled craftsmen to contribute to the evolution of the venue. We are keen to hark back to the mill's heritage and are encouraging artists to be inspired by the building and its history. Canal Mills will become a hub for the creative community in Leeds, a pliable space for all to use".
SPOTIFY ALLOWS SIGN-UPS WITHOUT FACEBOOK ACCOUNT AGAIN
It became compulsory to sign-up to Spotify with a Facebook account just under a year ago, after the streaming platform announced a wider alliance with the social network. The move came under some criticism, and there were rumours that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and former Facebook funder/current Spotify advisor Sean Parker had clashed over it.
Non-Facebook-based sign-ups to Spotify were allowed in Germany back in June, and now, according to Digital Music News, that policy has been expanded to other countries, including the UK, US, France and Sweden.
But this is nothing to get too excited about, a spokesperson for Spotify told CMU: "Actually, nothing has fundamentally changed here. This was just a small test of the user flow. These types of tests are fairly standard practice, and allow us to innovate quickly, and to make sure that our users are enjoying the best possible experience".
Well, anyway, if you were refusing to attach your Facebook account to a Spotify account, or just don't have a Facebook login, but wanted access to all that that streaming music, you may now knock yourself out.
GOODIER TO LEAVE SMOOTH
Confirming his Smooth departure, Goodier is quoted by Radio Today as saying: "I have very much enjoyed being part of building a new and successful national radio brand and am very proud of what we have been able to do with the show. I have loved being one of a brilliant team and I'm sure that the next few years for Smooth will be exciting. I'm looking forward to having a little more time every day to do other things in media".
Meanwhile Smooth Programme Director John Simons said: "Mark is one of Britain's great broadcasters and I'm delighted he's been a part of the Smooth Radio success story. We will announce a new host for the show in due course".
Of course Smooth is currently in the process of being acquired by Global Radio and, assuming that takeover goes ahead, the quasi-national network could face an uncertain future. Global may have plans to embrace the Smooth brand, or could be looking to use Smooth's frequencies for one of its other existing brands such as Heart. Time will tell.
DAVE STEWART CONSIDERING EURYTHMICS THEATRE PRODUCTION
Actually, Dave Stewart is way ahead of me there. He told The Telegraph this week: "We're not talking about one right now, but never say never. Annie and I wrote so many songs together, and they keep popping up in different places, and I have this idea of putting them all together in a theatrical piece in the not too distant future".