Fans in attendance at the Eurovision welcome party in Liverpool have spoken of experiencing “horrendous” issues with crowd control, which left many crying, fainting or unable to even move their arms.
The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome was held at St George’s Plateau on Sunday, with performances from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the Lightning Seeds and Atomic Kitten expected to be defining moments of the show.
However, many in attendance have spoken of the serious crowd control issues, which have resulted in many crying and leaving the event or even vowing to not attend any further Eurovision events this week.
“At first it was a good nice atmosphere, but all of a sudden the feeling began to change”, 18-year-old Jess Swift from Liverpool told the PA news agency.
“When it began to get busy, me and several people around asked security to help with crowd control on getting people to either side but nothing happened.
“Some had an argumentative attitude and didn’t want to help.”
She added that the production team “was more helpful and did a better job than security”, and that many fainted while at the event.
The regular concert-goer said that while she is used to crowds, the situation at the event was horrendous.
“The organisers are so lucky the crowd helped each other out, otherwise that would’ve turned very badly.”
Morgan, 24, who lives near Chester and attended with three other people, told PA that the “spectacular displays and great acts” were “sadly overshadowed by the lack of crowd control and organisation”.
“People were being told mixed messages, they were trying to push through past us to get to the other side, which we were told was blocked off and then they would come back.
“There was virtually no space to breathe.
“I saw girls crying and leaving. People were stressed and irritated. At one point we were shouting to get the attention of stewards (or) staff at the back, near the barriers, to get their attention, saying we need more space.
“I felt the whole thing was chaotic.”
Courtney Neary added that it got really crowded at about 7pm, with the 24-year-old who lives in Liverpool pre-emptively asking security to get people in to help with the crowds before problems escalated.
“We got told, ‘we’ll sort it out in a minute there’s not much we can do from here, but we are looking at the situation’”, she told PA.
“Maybe about 15 minutes passed, and it got worse and worse to the point where I physically couldn’t move, I couldn’t lift my arms up.
“I must have seen at least 20 people get pulled out around where we were.”
She added that she had plans to go to more Eurovision events around the city centre, but has since changed her mind.
“I’ve said to my family now I won’t be going to any of them. I couldn’t trust the security.”
She said: “Event safety experts confirmed that at no point was anyone in danger, there were no serious medical incidents and we were comfortably within the available capacity.
“Before the event began, people were keen to gather in front of the stage and this caused a small number to feel uncomfortable.
“These individuals were helped out of that situation and the team then ensured this area remained safe and comfortable for those in it once the show started – which went off without any issues.”
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson told PA that there was no overcrowding onsite and “we were actually under capacity”.