The Boardmasters festival has been canceled just hours before gates were to open as the weather forecast predicted the site may be hit by heavy storms. Near about 55,000 people were likely in Newquay to see headliners Wu-Tang Clan, Florence + The Machine and Foals.

Many celebrators were already on their way, some gathered at the city’s railway station or searching for somewhere to stay. The organizers said the forecast was “too severe” for the event to go ahead.

The organizers called off the gathering after consulting with police, telling ticket-holders, “The safety of you, the fans and attendees, as well as performers and crew, comes first.”

The Met office predicted gloomy weather with heavy rain and thunderstorms for much of England and Wales on Friday and Saturday, with strong winds forecast for Cornwall. The camping area in Newquay are full and people are being directed to stay on the outskirts of the town.

Ticket prices ranged from £69 for day-entry passes through to VIP packages for five days of camping from about £370 per person. Kristina Powell said she had not been able to sleep for shock after learning that the festival was canceled after traveling from Cheshire.

She said she and her friends “at first… couldn’t and didn’t want to believe it and honestly thought it was a hoax”.

“It all seemed a bit unprofessional – a screenshot of a statement written on a Notes app?

“The website was down, which added to our doubt. Then, when it did come back up, tickets were still available to buy,” she added.

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