Lego fans compare ‘Brick Fest’ flop to Glasgow Willy Wonka fiasco

The brick pit of loose Lego bricks
Families were given loose Lego bricks to play with in a 'brick pit' - Maureen Halsey/SWNS

A Lego event hailed as the “world’s largest brick festival” has been compared to Glasgow’s Willy Wonka fiasco with visitors demanding a refund over the flop.

Festival-goers called the event “bleak” and a “rip-off” after claiming they were greeted with a near-empty room at the Brick Fest Live experience at Birmingham’s NEC venue over the bank holiday.

The event promised “a jaw-dropping collection of brick creations from across the globe”, which would be “mind-blowing” and amaze “adults and children”.

But attendees said the reality was a sparse offering of attractions inside a hangar-like room, with one saying they had seen “better displays in village halls”.

Others said the scenes reminded them of the disastrous Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow earlier this year and called it “a scam”.

Brick Fest Live
The vast hangar-like space featured life-size models and Lego mosaics - Steven Halsey / SWNS

Ticketholders are now demanding their money back for the £35-a-ticket event. The spectacle, which Lego does not sponsor, authorise or endorse, originates in the US and describes itself as “the world’s largest hands-on brick event”.

Steven Halsey, 70, from Corby, who visited on Sunday, said: “There was nothing there, it was a total empty space really. I have more Lego in my house than they have there.”

Mr Halsey, who is disabled and relies on the care of his wife, Maureen, 67, said he had undertaken a 110-mile round trip to see the displays but was left disappointed.

He added: “It was disgusting, they are money grabbers. You could be in and out within five minutes.

“I have seen better displays in village halls. I am sure Lego would not be too happy.”

Brick Fest Live
Steven Halsey, 70, said he had seen better Lego displays in village halls - Steven Halsey / SWNS

Mr Halsey received two tickets worth nearly £40 from his daughter as a birthday present.

Emma Harris, 41, his daughter, said: “He is disabled and my mum is his carer so it takes a lot for them to get out and about. Since I bought the tickets as a birthday gift, I’m very disappointed for them.”

Mr Halsey said his son, Mark, 45, from the Isle of Wight, had warned him about going to the event.

Mark had attended the same event in Southampton and told his father that it was “c--p”,  but he said the Birmingham event looked even worse.

Mr Halsey said he had written to the organisers and was seeking a refund.

Trestle tables and an inflatable slide were also put up inside the event space
Trestle tables and an inflatable slide were also put up inside the event space - Steven Halsey / SWNS

Footage from the event shows a vast expanse with small Lego installations dotted across a grey floor covered in scratches and sticky tape.

There were some life-size models, a “Brick Pit” to play in, brick mosaics and piles of loose bricks for visitors to build their own creations. At the event, held between May 25 and 27, there was also a bouncy castle and trestle tables.

Other dissatisfied customers online labelled the event an “absolute rip off” and a “massive scam”, with many saying they would be pushing for a refund.

Glasgow's Willy Wonka Experience
The event was compared to Glasgow's Willy Wonka Experience, which was mocked for its shoddy execution

A Lego influencer called Kevin, who goes by blockpartyuk on TikTok, is among those who has been vocal in his criticism of the event online. After spending £70 for two VIP tickets, Kevin became upset that Brick Fest Live had promised an event “for Lego fans of all ages”.

In a video posted to TikTok, he said: “I think the event is aimed at kids to come along and play with Lego for a few hours rather than collectors coming along and enjoying a normal brick convention.”

Kevin urged his followers not to attend, describing the event as a “con” and “overpriced” before confirming he has been seeking a refund.

In response to his post, a user commented: “Reminds me of the Willy Wonka fiasco.”

Previous Brick Fest Live UK events were held at the Edinburgh Highland Centre on May 4-6 and Milton Keynes Marshall Arena on May 11-12.

The event’s organisers, Lego and Birmingham NEC have been approached for comment.