Sushi and sake festival organisers respond to complaints about Norwich event

Hundreds of people filled OPEN, at Bank Plain, on Saturday to sample a wide variety of food on offer

Hundreds of people filled OPEN, at Bank Plain, on Saturday to sample a wide variety of food on offer. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

Angry customers claim they were forced to queue for more than an hour to be served food at a sushi and sake festival in Norwich.

Hundreds of people filled OPEN, at Bank Plain, on Saturday to sample a wide variety of food on offer

Hundreds of people filled OPEN, at Bank Plain, on Saturday to sample a wide variety of food on offer. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

The event, held at OPEN over the weekend, aimed to showcase some of the best regional and national sushi restaurant brands.

But some festival visitors said they were met with hour-long queues during the two Saturday sessions.

Visitor Natasha Cochrane said: 'I feel so annoyed that I spent £20 on tickets (plus £59 on the wristband before I saw the queues!) to spend and hour and a half in the queue for sushi that I live five minutes away from.'

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said she paid £66 for six people's tickets, but left without eating due to the queues.

Hundreds of people filled OPEN, at Bank Plain, on Saturday to sample a wide variety of food on offer

Hundreds of people filled OPEN, at Bank Plain, on Saturday to sample a wide variety of food on offer. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant


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Tickets cost £10 each, but people also had to pay an extra £1 for a wristband which could be topped-up with money to purchase items.

Max Dobson, one of the festival organisers, said long queues were caused by vendors being unable to cope with the volume of customers.

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He said: 'Ultimately, the vendors weren't prepared to deal with that many people.

'What we did not expect is that our vendors could not cope with the speed of what the public expected.'

Mr Dobson said because the chefs took 'pride' in what they were creating, it did delay service.

He said organisers sat down with the vendors on Saturday night to discuss the issue.

'This morning they spent hours prepping food into packs, so people could buy these and walk away,' he said.

'There were no queues this morning [Sunday] and today has been such a better vibe.'

Responding to other complaints about wristbands being needed to pay for food and drink, Mr Dobson said: 'We were not allowed to operate a cash or card service at this venue.

'We could have plastic tokens or an e-money wristband. The reason why we took the wristband is so people can refund money on it.'

Mr Dobson said the festival would '100 percent' be returning next year.

He added that organisers were also planning a craft beer festival at OPEN for the May bank holiday.

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