They were certainly stuck in no man’s land — many for several hours — to quote lyrics from a song that bears the same name as the music festival at the centre of a traffic management storm.
Traffic chaos marred the opening of the All Together Now (ATN) festival in Co Waterford on Friday, with many fans taking to social media to vent their anger at being stuck in their cars for hours with little information about what was happening coming from the organisers.
One woman said her daughter spent six hours in her car, for a journey that could have taken 10 minutes under normal circumstances.
One Facebook user commented underneath a post on the festival’s social media page saying:
The comment was in response to a post by the organisers explaining the traffic situation on Friday night, as the festival was getting underway for its second year.
“We are aware of the delays in getting to this weekend’s All Together Now Festival, and we would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding,” the organisers said.
They added that the event was taking place in a historic site and that every festival “faces challenges”.
“The home of the festival, the Curraghmore Estate, was built in the 15th Century, with a complex network of surrounding country roads. Every new festival faces challenges,” the organisers said.
However, there was one section of their post that prompted more of a reaction than other parts.
“We have encouraged people to use Bus Éireann services, train services and car-pooling systems to reduce the numbers of cars on the road,” the organiser’s post said.
Festival-goers said they had travelled by public transport and in shared vehicles with friends and their families.
“Seven-and-a-half hours after leaving Dublin we are stuck about 3km from [the] entrance with little or no movement,” another Facebook user commented under the post.
Other music fans said a 7km journey took five hours and another said a 19km trip from Waterford city to Portlaw took them seven hours.
A local business near the festival site said its trade was impacted on Friday.
“Should have been one of our busiest days of the week but our customers couldn’t get to us, had to turn their cars around and disappoint their children,” the owners said on Facebook.
Last year the festival had a capacity of 15,000 and this year it increased to more than 20,000.
Local Fine Gael councillor Seánie Power attended the festival and said it is a much-needed event for the area and that everyone was well-behaved.
“I went in there Friday evening. I’ll be 56 soon and I didn’t feel too much out of place. It was my first time at a festival and I’m 30 years married,” he said
Cllr Power did say however, that the traffic management needs to be looked at.
“People came from all over the country. Traffic management just needs to be looked into, maybe [they could create] another way in. Everybody came together at the same time on the one day. They’ll learn from their mistakes, but we need the festival, so they need to just work around that (traffic management),” he said.
A spokeswoman for the festival said they will be able to offer a comprehensive response to traffic queries put to them by the Irish Examiner in the coming days.
The spokeswoman also asked that anyone collecting people from the festival today to approach the site from Portlaw side and follow garda direction from there.