A “Fortnite Live” event has been compared to the disastrous Fyre Festival by parents whose children were forced to queue for hours to use “overpriced” and “underwhelming” attractions.
Parents who visited the Norfolk Showground Arena over the weekend said the event was a “scam” and demanded refunds.
Tickets for the event started at £12, with wristbands for activities costing an additional £20, and many spent hundreds getting to the arena near Norwich.
2,800 people flocked to the event on Saturday, but were forced to spend over an hour getting into the festival, organised by Exciting Events.
Once inside, they had to join more queues for a climbing wall which had space for just three children at one time and a firing range which had only two spaces.
Parents took to the event’s Facebook page to slam the “sham scam” and urged others to contact Trading Standards.
Mum Sharon Lee said: “We arrived at 9am to queue for the 10am opening, but at 9.40 people were already coming out from the 9am early bird tickets saying it’s awful.
“We got in at 10.15 to queue again inside for a £20 wristband for the attractions, this queue eventually got so long that people were waiting 90 minutes.
Parents were also horrified after “drug-related” merchandise was seen on sale, with one hat bearing a marijuana leaf and another embellished with “cocaine and caviar.”
Reenie Greenwood said her husband took their 12-year-old son and his friends to the “incredibly disappointing” experience for his birthday, which “did not met expectations at all.”
“When we walked in the main area I was underwhelmed with the lack of anything exciting, a main stage which was about two metres squared, competitions that they only allowed 10 people to enter despite having sold 2500 tickets.
“The whole feel of it was an unorganized school fete.
“Of the £20 wristband, Oliver used £7 but only as I forced him and we queued in total for over three hours of the four we stayed.
“It was a Xmas present for my son and now I’m £45 down and he had an awful time. Not good enough.”
She said: “My husband booked tickets for this back in September. Our son’s a keen player of the game and this looked like the perfect birthday outing for him and some friends.
“We paid just shy of £80 for six tickets and they went expecting an event that they could stay at all day and join in with all the activities.
“They were seen through the entrance after queuing to join another queue and be in it for 45 minutes before finding out it was a queue to purchase wristbands that they didn’t want to enable participants to use all charged activities without paying separately.
“Upon entering the ‘experience’ there was very little to do. The boys were deeply disappointed.
“They arrived at 10, queued in various forms until 11.10, left at 11.40 and were back at the car to have the picnic I packed – which was gratefully received as the food queues were also enormous.
“They purchased some ‘merchandise’ before leaving, but my husband intervened when one of the boys came and checked about a baseball hat covered with a huge marijuana leaf – not sure of the Fortnite connection and drugs.
“I can’t quite believe this ‘event’ has had such huge billing and was such a disaster. I feel like we and so many other parents have been scammed by a company out to make a quick buck because they’ve piggybacked the Fortnite phenomenon currently in play.
“They’ve obviously seen an avenue to gain and exploited the fact children will want to attend something of this nature.”
Despite all the complaints posted on their page, the organisers posted a statement on Saturday claiming “so many happy children have enjoyed a great day” and still plan on holding their next two events in Spalding and Newark.
Exciting Events have been contacted for further comment.