Eurovision: Fans ‘assisted’ from crowd at welcome concert in Liverpool after safety fears
Fans attending the Eurovision welcome party in Liverpool on Sunday (7 May) have spoken of “horrendous” issues with crowd control, which left some crying, fainting and unable to move freely.
The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome was held at St George’s Plateau in the city, with performances from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Lightning Seeds and Atomic Kitten.
Read about Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s brief and surprising reunion here.
According to fans at the scene, severe crowd control issues resulted in many leaving the event and opting to skip any further Eurovision events this week, ahead of the grand final on Saturday 13 May.
“At first it was a good nice atmosphere, but all of a sudden the feeling began to change", Jess Swift, 18 told the PA news agency.
“There was a child no older than 10 next to me who was in tears as he was just getting pushed against this barrier.
“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 she saw many fainting.
“I am used to crowds and the usual closeness and pushing but this was horrendous and nothing like I’ve ever seen before,” Swift said.
“The organisers are so lucky the crowd helped each other out, otherwise that would’ve turned very badly.”
She also tweeted: “Eurovision National Lottery sort yourselves out! Major health and safety issue going on. Ignored several times then puts a man on the stage telling people to come even closer! Something needs to be sorted asap! Absolute joke of security. God knows how the rest of the week will go.”
Another fan, Morgan, 24, 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,” she said.
“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.”
Another attendee, Courtney Neary, 24, added that it got really crowded at about 7pm.
She said: “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.’
“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.”
Comedian Joel Dommett, who hosted the event, shared pictures of the night on Instagram, writing: “What a night! The Big Eurovision Welcome on telly tonight! BBC One at 6.30 –was a 30,000 people partyyyy ... SO FUN.”
Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, issued a statement following the incident, saying: “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”.
Additional reporting by Press Association