FATBOY SLIM has said that he will not play another free show in BRIGHTON unless he can “guarantee people’s safety”.
As previously reported, police and emergency services in Brighton are launching a post-mortem into Saturday’s (July 13) free gig that plunged the town into chaos when 250,000 people showed up for an event expecting 60,000.
The event spiralled out of control when party-goers, attracted by the weekend sun, flocked to the seaside resort for the Big Beat Boutique show.
By noon, ten-mile tailbacks stretched up the A23 towards London. By 3pm police realised they had a major incident on their hands and extra officers were drafted in to cope with the gathering crowds.
As the day went on, Brighton’s public transport system and emergency services were stretched to breaking point.
A 26-year-old woman is still critically ill in hospital after falling from railings onto the lower esplanade. Congestion was such that the coastguard was called in to help ferry those in need of medical treatment to hospital.
Today (July 16), speaking to the local Brighton Argus newspaper, Norman Cook said that a way to limit the capacity of such events needs to be looked at.
He commented: “We probably won’t do it again. I don’t take safety issues lightly. I will only do it again if we can guarantee people’s safety and if that many people are going to come we can’t.”
Cook said that as more and more people started to come onto the beach, he thought his “nightmare scenario” of a serious injury could unfold before his eyes.
“For me it was a fantastic event but I did have a bit of a wobble”, he confessed. “I felt very stressed because at one point I thought my nightmare scenario, that I might be responsible for someone being hurt or killed, was coming true.”
Yesterday, local officials met to discuss the future of the event and the lessons learned. However, there will not be an inquiry.
Superintendent Doug Rattray, of Brighton and Hove police, said: “I have never in my career seen anything like this. It was an amazing spectacle. If an event like this was to happen again we would have to look at several changes. At Edinburgh’s free New Year’s Eve party, people have to obtain tickets well in advance. That may be something we will have to do.
“Brighton is a very attractive place to come. A beach party at which Fatboy Slim is playing is always going to attract a lot of people. This year’s estimate was based on last year’s event, which was very well run. The numbers took everyone by surprise this year.
“I do not think we will ever close Brighton down as a public place for entertainment but clearly the public’s safety is paramount. New measures need to be looked at.”
What do you think? Were you at the party? Do you feel it was well run? What about the future of the event? E-mail your views to email@example.com.