Organiser of Kids Rock Festival at Joss Bay apologises after being hit by stall and system problems

Kids Rock Festival at Joss Bay Photo Frank Leppard

The organiser of a Kids Rock Festival at Joss Bay over the weekend has apologised for issues on the day that resulted in a number of complaints.

The festival, which was held on the famer’s field by the bay, was organised by business owner Katie Lawrance who spent six months putting the event together.

Bands, a fair, entertainment, activities and food and drink stalls were promised with the event using a cashless ‘online pay and top up’ system.

But there were complaints that the system did not work and huge queues were in place for everything from topping up wristbands to rides, food and drink.

There were also complaints that wristbands tightened and had to be cut off.

Photo Frank Leppard

Some families said they got around the food issue by ordering Uber Eats and enjoyed the live bands and events but many were angry that their children had been hungry and bored with queueing.

Katie, who runs Vibrant Events, was staging the festival for the first time.

Responding to complaints she posted on social media to explain what happened and apologise.

She said: “I would firstly like to apologise to the upset customers. Kids Rock is not a huge corporate company, the entire company is run by me and me only. Everything you saw yesterday was put together by one person in 6 months and during a pandemic. It was also my first festival.”

Photo Frank Leppard

She said she had been let down by the cashless system which was supposed to mean quicker checkouts and less queues and be beneficial for the safeguarding of children. She said: “The technical issues with the system at the start of the event were a big problem that I would like to apologise for. Cashless was a mistake and we will not be using it again. I am as annoyed as you all are with it, because it wasn’t meant to cause problems, it was supposed to make the day easier and stress free. The technical issues with this were resolved by the afternoon.”

Photo Frank Leppard

A lack of catering traders also resulted in big queues for food and drink. Katie said: “We were on track to have 10 food stalls. Two days before the event, I was told the lorry that contains all of the food stalls had broken down on its way back from an event in Wales. The tyre had burst which then caused the lorry to fall on the kerb and damage the axle.

“The company I was using for the food stalls was then only able to supply me with 5 food stalls, and with the event being so close, we were unable to find any more stalls available at such short notice. This put them under a huge amount of pressure and they did an amazing job and worked as hard as they could to feed you all. On the day I was frantically trying to find more food stalls to alleviate the queues and managed to find one more that did arrive in the afternoon.”

Photo Frank Leppard

Traders who had been due to run the bar had also dropped out at late notice, Katie said, and another stepped in but only had a few days to prepare.

Many festival-goers also commented on a lack of checking covid tests at the entrance.

In response Katie said: “The security company I hired had been told months, weeks and many times on the day to check the Covid tests. I was advised by them that they were checking, so I apologise if a few slipped through the net. I could only do so much, I was telling them over and over again to check. I’m fuming about that and won’t be using that security company again.”

She added that the bubble football advertised for the festival had closed early due to the bad weather and that different wristbands, that could not tighten, would be used in the future.

Photo Frank Leppard

She said: “We had free circus workshops, a walkabout magician, a children’s entertainer hosting the day and who also did a magic show, we had amazing live bands, 8 fun fair rides, face painting, glitter tattoos and an evening fire performance.

“The music was on all day and I understand it was quiet at times, when this happened I was telling them to turn it up. There was lots of entertainment provided for how cheap the tickets were.

“All in all, I know that the majority of customers did have an amazing time. I would like to say a huge thanks to all involved.

“My staff and volunteers worked non stop to try and manage the queues as quickly as they could, ensured the site was clean and tidy at all times and were all total superstars. Even the farmer who owns the field went above and beyond assisting me in the lead up to the event and even on the day, he was absolutely amazing.

Photo Frank Leppard

“With this being my first festival, I have learnt a huge amount on how to improve for next year. I am super passionate about the work I do and my blood, sweat and tears went into (this event). It’s difficult hosting a festival on your own and for next year I will be able to hire more staff. I will take all comments onboard on how to improve, as I truly care about creating an amazing experience.”

The event had a 5,000 person capacity.


  1. We had to pay in advance to put money on the wristbands. Because of the rain we left early with hungry and miserable children but with a lot of money left unspent. It is not at all clear how we get this back. The company that took the money has refused to reimburse, saying we need to get it from the event coordinator.

  2. KATIE you owe it to you paying guests how to get a easy refund from the wristbands
    Good music All else very poor

    • Katie has refused to respond to any messages or e mails requesting refunds. I wasn’t asking for a refund on my entry fee of £60 (despite the event being of extremely poor quality and not at all as advertised) I only want the unspent balance of money on the wristband. We had no choice other than to load money in advance on to the wristband with a promise of a refund of any unspent balance. She seems intent on keeping the unspent balances, which is fraud. This newspaper needs to expose this as the criminal act that it is if unspent balances are not returned.

  3. An event of that size should have at least a year lead-in time. She says it was put together by one person, but then goes on to talk about her staff and volunteers. So it wasn’t just one person. An event manager should never play the victim card.

  4. Is this sympathy card meant to somehow make everyone back off with the complaints and requests for refund? And saying we had a lot of entertainment considering ticket price, is insulting!! Everything had to be paid for except for music in one area of the field. Circus skills were basically wet muddy hoops or spinning plates that the kids picked up and tried to do themselves. Was there a teacher there? Or a performer? Didn’t see one and we were there for ages queuing for an overpriced pancake and overpriced tiny hot drinks. Stilt lady x1 who just seemed to walk about (ok so that is a skill in itself but is that really entertainment?). Kids showed zero interest in the music as it wasn’t that audible from the other side of the field and what was audible didn’t get them going. Bad luck re the stalls etc but isn’t there insurance for that that would let people get their money back? Overall, not sure it is fair to sell tickets as if this is a well organised established event provider.. and then say ‘boo hoo it’s just me flapping around, I’ve learned lots of lessons’ as an excuse when it falls short. Sorry! Miserable adults, miserable kids at the end of it. And lots of people left early. Should have consulted experienced people to pull this together. Or sold it as a trial or pilot or first event. Money back please!

    • You mean someone running a commercial venture wanted KCC councillors to cover some costs? This wasn’t a community, civic or charity event so why expect financial help?

      I did buy tickets for myself and my grandson based on the excellent promotional material but got concerned when the final date for buying tickets came and went and more tickets were released including on the day. This rang alarm bells.

      I live nearby so had a look on Saturday morning but only saw four or five fairground rides and a couple of food stalls. Since you couldn’t take your own food in I thought that wasn’t what was advertised-ten stalls with a wide range of option of food choices. It looked to me like a fairground for young children with music.

      I hadn’t realised this was a one woman organisation running her first event. In the end we didn’t go along. A wise choice.

  5. Why anyone tries to do anything new or exciting in Thanet is beyond me!!

    The only interest seems to be hanging on to failed enterprises, and stopping anything new or different.

    • People paid £15 per child and £10 per adult. The only free admission was for babies in slings. Babies in buggies had to be paid for. Families travelled for this event. It could have been great and the promotional material was excellent.

      By contrast the Feastability event in Broadstairs seemed well-organised with free admission. Lots of food stalls that were well- supported from my short visit there. That was put on by an events company that seemed to be doing the job properly.

  6. Some of us just want our own unspent money back!! Why does Katie not answer our e mails? We aren’t asking for refunds of admission fees.

  7. Fraudently advertised event. Reasons, rather excuses, for how terrible the ‘festival’ was, are dire to say the least. Everyone should receive a full refund for tickets and booking fees. There should be insurance in place to cover issues that arise. Requesting that food brought to the venue be thrown away on arrival and not providing adequate provisions is the tip. Then the queues. Oh, the queues! At present, Katie should be grateful criminal charges have not been brought against her for fraduently advertising a professional event, that this was clearly not. Civil will likely follow if refunds are not given.

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