Belladrum festival apologises after traffic chaos on opening day

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, in Kiltarlity near Inverness, kicked off on Thursday and will run till Saturday.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival apologises after traffic chaos on opening day Facebook

A popular Highlands music festival has apologised after attendees were forced to spend hours in traffic on its opening day.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, at the Belladrum Estate in Kiltarlity near Inverness, kicked off on Thursday and will run till Saturday.

However, festivalgoers were stuck in traffic for hours and complained that some of them had almost missed the sets – including musicians themselves.

Indie electronica act The Dazed Digital Age said on the festival’s Facebook page that they had “narrowly” missed their set, but managed to arrive and play in the nick of time.

Attendees complained they had been stuck in queue for hours, and criticised the organisers for not forseeing the traffic issues.

One wrote: “We were five hours in a queue, missed all the acts we wanted to see, and when we did get in, every portaloo was overflowing – on the first night of the festival! Please get something sorted for the next two days!”

Another said: “[My] wife and daughter missed the acts they wanted to see. You guys need to start accepting caravan and campers in at the exit road if roads are that bad.

“No traffic management at all at Foxhole road so nobody could get out. You lot need to get your act together.”

Apologising, Belladrum insisted this year’s best-ever sale of 25,000 tickets was a “very small percentage” increase from last year, and said it would update its strategy to prevent this from happening in 2024.

The festival also said early arrivals and bad weather had contributed to the build-up of traffic.

In their statement, Belladrum organisers said: “We are incredibly disappointed by the traffic issues that so many the festival goers and local people experienced today.

“As reported, we have had good ticket sales, but it was a very small percentage increase on last year and nothing else in the plan was changed.

“We have used the same routes, the same traffic management and parking companies and the same number of police officers in the same locations.

“We had a very large number of people arrive early and we believe that this, along with the wet weather this morning, was the cause of the long queues which then continued throughout the day.

“We can assure you we will be having a long debrief meeting to work out how to manage incoming traffic in 2024 should we have similar conditions to deal with so that we avoid a repeat.”

Day two of the festival kicks off on Thursday, with Pompeii stars Bastille headlining.

Kiefer Sutherland, best known for portraying Jack Bauer in the hit series 24 will also be taking the stage, alongside KT Tunstall, Alabama 3, Newton Faulkner and a host of other acts.

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