A disused airport. An arrivals hall converted to cater for a few thousand festival goers. A backdrop of control towers and discontinued aircraft. Bands invited to perform in two giant hangars…on paper, Berlin Festival‘s unique setting ticks all the right boxes.

So just how did they get it so wrong this time around? With last night’s scheduling snafu at Berlin Festival causing a bit of a stir, the fact that the organisers promised today’s event would go ahead was always going to be regarded with a cautious optimism.

And so it proved with today’s/tonight’s line-up condensed, chopped and cut with a hasty, unyielding hatchet. Last night Fatboy Slim and 2ManyDJs’ performances got canned as a result of apparent crowd build up and tonight sees a depressingly early 11pm finish as opposed to the 6am one previously proposed, kind of going against Berlin’s reputation for being a city that can go all night.

It also raises questions over the festival’s scheduling. With four previous shindigs at the Tempelhof airport going off without a hitch, it’s ridiculous that organisers didn’t forsee a problem finishing the main stage just shy of midnight with three other stages set to stay open.

Fever Ray, Caribou, 2ManyDJs and Fatboy Slim were scheduled to play in the later Hangar 4 and 5 stages, where at the time of the initial crowd bottleneck, there was more than ample space for the small crowds looking to get into the outside area and inside the hangar itself.

Health and safety is vital, obviously, and particularly in Germany after the recent Love Parade tragedy but it shouldn’t cloud the better judgement of organisers. At no point was there, or could there have been, a feeling of desperate entrapment, last night.

Obviously the biggest disparity was that the crowd scale was nowhere near the size of the doomed Love Parade but nor was there a single tunnelled entrance and exit. And with temporary fencing, ample space, numerous exits, and an open “escape” onto the vast tarmac of Tempelhof’s runways, it smacked of an over-zealousness and a needless buy into a thought process that didn’t look beyond a worst case scenario.

Cancelling arguably the two biggest draws of the weekend was a monumental decision to make, and no amount of shoe-horning and shifting is going to make up for the disappointment for the majority.

And when 250 festival goers can patiently, if voiceferously, wait to enter a space that  could visibly have housed their small congregation, it was telling that the only over-reaction was from the organisers and security tasked with applying better judgement.

Riot. Disaster. Tragedy. They’re all taboo buzzwords loitering at the negative end of festival association and while it’s laudable and entirely understandable that there was a topical sensitivity at work, it’s regrettable common sense wasn’t.