A HEALTH worker says she and her colleagues fear missing out on one of their favourite events because of a last-minute ticketing change.

Party at the Park is due to be held in Newport's Tredegar Park this Friday, featuring performances from the likes of Peter Andre, East 17 and Heather Small.

Traditionally, the event has offered a limited number of free tickets to NHS workers or holders of Blue Light Cards - for emergency services staff - months ahead of the big day.

But this week, healthcare support worker Claire O'Connor said her excitement turned to despair when she found out the event organisers had apparently introduced a new system urging free ticket holders to "opt-in" to the scheme or their tickets would be cancelled.

"They sent [an email] about four days ago," she told the Argus on Wednesday. "People are only just noticing."

The email appeared in her junk folder, and the same happened to everyone else she knew who had signed up for an NHS free ticket, Ms O'Connor said.

"I didn't know it was there until a friend told me," she added.

Multiple similar accounts have been reported on social media.

Ms O'Connor now fears she will miss out on the festival which she enjoyed so much last year. While some of her friends have been able to "opt-in", she says she was unable to do so.

To add to the confusion, people who successfully opted-in to the NHS scheme received another message suggesting their entry to Party at the Park may still not be guaranteed.

That message said that "due to the request of Newport licensing it is possible that we may unfortunately have to implement a one-in one-out policy on Friday, so the earlier you arrive, the less likely this will be to affect you".

Ms O'Connor, who has been looking forward for months to adding to her special memories of last year's event, said her plans had been left up in the air, and she has no idea whether she will be able to attend on Friday.

"I'm absolutely gutted," she said.

The Argus contacted the organisers of Party at the Park for comment, asking why the policy for NHS and Blue Light Card holders had been changed.

In a statement, Escape Records said: "We were recently informed by Newport Council that they were planning to further restrict the capacity of this year’s Party at the Park show on Friday.

"Despite our exhaustive efforts, we have been unable to change this decision and sadly our licensed capacity has now been cut. We are yet to receive a comprehensive explanation as to why the council have taken this decision.

"As a result of this decision we have had to reduce the number of tickets available across the board - including our free ticket offer for the NHS and Blue Light Community.

"We were looking forward to welcoming everyone on site and share the frustration and disappointment of those affected."

Escape Records say they have tried to communicate this change as extensively as possible.

"Starting on the June 29, we emailed the affected customers to let them know that they would need to opt in and re-confirm their attendance," they said.

"This messaging was also conveyed by our ticketing partner for the event - Skiddle.

"Reminder emails were subsequently sent out to anyone who had still failed to opt-in. Finally, confirmation emails were sent to those who had successfully reapplied for tickets alongside separate emails to anyone who had not responded explaining that they would now be unable to attend."

The statement continued: "As one of the few companies who put on large-scale events in the city we are extremely disappointed that the council were not able to fulfil their original promised capacity - a decision which casts in to doubt our ability to host events in Tredegar Park in the future.

"We are Wales' biggest events company and pride ourselves on being an employer of local people who would otherwise struggle to gain experience in the live music scene in Wales - one that already has precious few opportunities.

"For those who were unable to confirm their tickets we are sorry that you have been disappointed. Please know this is the absolute last thing we wanted to do and have done all that we can to fight this restriction."

However, Newport City Council (NCC) has passed the buck, saying issues about ticketing for these events are "solely a matter for the organisers to deal with".

A spokesman said: "NCC has engaged with the organisers of the festivals at Tredegar Park since July 2022 and increasingly over recent weeks about capacity for this year’s events.

"The capacity for the Party in the Park event and the Disco Tots event is set at 5,000, in line with the capacity that the organisers originally asked for.

"Safety concerns were raised following last year’s Colour Clash event, where insufficient public safety measures were put in place to ensure attendees could leave the site safely.

"Officers from the council’s public protection team and Gwent Police witnessed large numbers of pedestrians leaving the site, unmarshalled, onto live traffic.

"Since that event, the council has given considerable advice to the organisers to ensure that these safety issues are not repeated.

"The event organisers have put improved safety plans in place which we welcome. However, given the issues observed with implementation of their previous safety plans, the council has deemed it necessary, to limit the number of people attending the Colour Clash event this year to 7,000.

"The council is supportive of major events such as the festivals being held in Newport.

"However, as a licencing authority, we also have a duty to ensure public safety at all times, and we cannot take any risks."