Police called to children’s fun day where attractions featured a castle made of crisp boxes

Police were called to a family fun day after furious parents confronted the organiser over ‘disgraceful’ attractions that included a castle made from old crisp boxes.

Visitors paid up to £14 for tickets to Kidz Fest, which was billed as a ‘unique weekend full of fun’ with ‘interactive activities and performances’.

Visitors paid up to £14 for tickets to Kidz Fest, which promised a 'unique weekend full of fun'. Among the free attractions was a castle made from cardboard boxes, pictured
Visitors paid up to £14 for tickets to Kidz Fest, which promised a ‘unique weekend full of fun’. Among the free attractions was a castle made from cardboard boxes, pictured

But when parents arrived at the showground in Orsett, Essex, on Saturday morning, they were told they had to splash out even more money on rides.

One of the few free attractions at the event was a children’s ‘castle’ made out of old crisp boxes stuck together.

Parents confront organiser Mr Kembery at the 'disgraceful' family fun day
Parents confront organiser Mr Kembery at the ‘disgraceful’ family fun day

Officers from Essex Police were called after parents and stall holders confronted organiser Tom Kembery, of Romford, Essex, demanding refunds.

It is the latest in a string of failed events for Mr Kembery, who was also behind a widely criticised Frozen themed pop up and a disappointing Burger Beer Fest earlier this year.

One of the few free attractions at the event was a children’s ‘castle’ made out of old crisp boxes stuck together.

Organiser Tom Kembery
Organiser Tom Kembery

Officers from Essex Police were called after parents and stall holders confronted organiser Tom Kembery, of Romford, Essex, demanding refunds.

It is the latest in a string of failed events for Mr Kembery, who was also behind a widely criticised Frozen themed pop up and a disappointing Burger Beer Fest earlier this year.

Tom Kembery was also behind a Frozen-themed pop up last February. The event which cost £15 for a child and £5 for an adult was widely criticised by parents.
Tom Kembery was also behind a Frozen-themed pop up last February. The event which cost £15 for a child and £5 for an adult was widely criticised by parents.

‘When we got there nothing was free except a few cardboard boxes, a poor show which was even changed without notifying anyone ( we sat waiting for Jack and the beanstalk to find Peter pan came on instead ) and a couple of sit on things.

‘It was a total rip off.’

Another parent added: ‘Basically paid £50 plus to go on bouncy castles and to walk around a field. Don’t understand what we actually got for the entrance price.’

Tickets cost £36 for a family of four with individuals paying as much as £14 each for entry. They were sold online by Mr Kembery’s company ‘Winter Fest’ and through voucher website Groupon.

Writing on Facebook, parents said that Kidz Fest promotional material had suggested most of the attractions would be free.

Officers from Essex Police speak with organiser Tom Kembery, seen in the hat, after he was confronted by visitors. The second day of the weekend-long event was cancelled
Officers from Essex Police speak with organiser Tom Kembery, seen in the hat, after he was confronted by visitors. The second day of the weekend-long event was cancelled

But families were expected to pay for rides, games and entertainment at the event, with an ‘unlimited’ pass for the bouncy castle costing £5 per child.

Visitors also claimed that there were no baby changing facilities available on site, forcing parents to change nappies on the ground.

Stall holders who paid up to £60 for a pitch for both days also complained that the event was not accurately advertised and have asked for money back.

Shop owner Linda Thomas told MailOnline she closed her store for the day and paid £35 for a pitch at Kidz Fest, which was billed as a ‘big event’.

She said: ‘We don’t usually stock children’s bits and bobs but went to the wholesalers especially to get some stuff in and ended up spending over £100 there.

‘However, as everyone had paid such an exorbitant entrance fee and then had to pay out again for everything inside the venue, nobody could afford to spend any money on any of the stalls.

‘We were there from 8am until 4.30pm and didn’t even make back our stall fee.’

The second day of the event was cancelled following complaints.

On a Facebook group called ‘Kidz Fest Refund 2016’, Mr Kembery wrote: ‘Studio Club Inc (trading as Winter Fest) has offered refunds to customers of Kidz Fest who were unhappy with the event as a gesture of good will. This is by no means an admission of any liability of wrong doings.

‘We feel the event was as advertised with a clear indication of what was included in the ticket price. At the bottom of the advertisement text on our website, we clearly listed what activities would be at an extra charge.’

Mrs Thomas said she was still waiting for a response from Mr Kembery regarding a refund.

Mr Kembery has previously faced criticism over a Frozen-themed pop-up event which featured £25 face paints and a ‘snow’ pit made with foam.

The event also offered a less-than-impressive cardboard cut-out of a castle and a small bouncy castle.

And in June this year visitors to a £60-a-ticket Burger and Beer Fest organised by Mr Kembery were left disappointed after they arrived to find just two stalls open.

Mr Kembery is understood to have cancelled an upcoming ‘Jurassic pop-up’ restaurant in the wake of the Kidz Fest complaints.

An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘The disturbance was following a civil dispute between attendees and the organisers of the show.

‘Officers attended to prevent breach of the peace and offered words of advice to attendees.’

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