The band’s triumphant reunion set was interrupted three times on Saturday (July 5) due to concerns over fan safely due to crushing. “We can’t carry on if you don’t calm down a bit,” Pete Doherty told the crowd after security walked onstage to shut the gig down after opening track ‘Vertigo’. Later on in the show, the gig was stopped again as fans climbed the sound towers to get a better view.
Speaking to NME, Event Director Jim King from promoters AEG Live says: “As a result of crowd pushing at the start of The Libertines’ set, 38 people were taken to the medical centre to be assessed and/or to receive treatment. Of that number, eight were taken to hospital for minor injuries.”
Paramedics were also called to the site earlier in the day after a 46-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest. He is now recovering in Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in London, and his family have put out an appeal to find the stranger in the audience who performed CPR on him and saved his life.
King also confirmed that fans attempting to bring flares into the show had them confiscated and were then refused entry to the gig, but some people “still managed to smuggle some in”. He said: “We then ejected two people who let them off on the night.”
When asked how organisers will prevent the kind of crowd crushing seen at the show in future, King replied: “What happened on Saturday is already being fully debriefed with all event agencies involved on the night, and a full report will be completed with recommendations for future years identified.”
In addition to the crowd crushing, fans have also complained that earlier in the day, more issues had stopped some of the bands on the line-up from playing in the Barclaycard Theatre, including Swim Deep, who were moved to an alternative stage and Graham Coxon, who was cancelled altogether. King has said that fans will not be refunded for Coxon’s performance being pulled.
“Only the Barclaycard Theatre closed and this was only for the last two acts (Swim Deep and Graham Coxon),” he says. “We had to take this action on the advice of the Safety Officer as a section of the theatre’s floor became loose and it would have been potentially dangerous to fans to continue to use it. Sometimes you have to take the right course of action in the interests of safety however upsetting that is for the act or the fans. In this instance, it was the right decision.”
“We understand the disappointment of fans but its a situation that happens at nearly every festival every week of the summer and I don’t agree that refunds should be given on this basis,” he adds.
Pick up a copy of this week’s NME, which is on newsstands now or available digitally for the full behind-the scenes report and exclusive interview with The Libertines.