A FESTIVAL organiser has promised families “there will not be any mess ups like last year” after handing out thousands of pounds in free tickets as compensation.

Phil Gilgunn is the founder of the Clacton Family Festival, which will take place on a large spot of land in Colchester Road, Weeley, on August 27.

This year’s event is set to boast a range of activities to keep children entertained, including exciting rides, a funfair, BMX stunt shows and thrilling dinosaur displays.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

YouTube star JJ Song, who specialises in nursery rhymes, is also due to make an appearance, in addition to famous 1980s American singer Joyce Sims.

The return of the Clacton Family Festival has raised some eyebrows after last year’s extravaganza came under fire from guests who were left underwhelmed.

The fuming families claimed festival bosses failed to deliver what was advertised, with many demanding a refund for what some described as an “atrocious” experience.

Mr Gilgunn, who put the shortcomings down to staff contracting coronavirus before the event, has now offered families £15,000 in free tickets for this summer’s festival.

He said: “We have stuck to our word and honoured roughly 1,100 tickets – we had to do it and I am really proud because we have stood up and not shied away.

“We could have just walked away, but this is not about the money and if we break even we will be happy – this is genuinely about bringing value to the community.

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“The problem is we have now had a lot of people trying their luck only now wanting to complain and expecting a free ticket, so we have had to draw the line.”

This year’s festival was officially announced last Friday, and despite the reaction to the 2021 edition of the event, families have already flocked to secure tickets.

“Despite all the headaches, press and bad social media coverage last year, we’ve already sold about 1,000 tickets,” added Mr Gilgunn

“It went off really well and I am really confident this year because we have got George Irvin on board, who is the biggest funfair operator in the country.

“There will not be any mess ups like last year.”

To buy tickets visit clactonfamilyfestival.co.uk.