Eurovision 2023 venue in Liverpool launches investigation over safety concerns at Jamie Webster gig
Concerns have been raised by fans over the venue where the Eurovision Song Contest will be staged next year.
It comes after fans who attended a Jamie Webster concert at the M&S Bank Arena on Saturday (November 19), reported overcrowding and poor ticket checks at the venue.
One fan Paul Lang, who attended the concert, posted pictures of huge crowds at the entrance tunnel on his Twitter account and said: “Not even checking tickets, crush bound to happen. People coming out in a state. Still more people trying to get in, had to walk away.
“@MandSBankArena Please employ staff that will actually check tickets and look out for customer safety.”
— Paul Lang (@PaulNLang) November 19, 2022
He also told BBC Radio Merseyside (via BBC News) that his tickets weren’t checked, and the entrance tunnel was “completely full”.
He added: “The group around us when we were getting let in, I would say at least 15-20 people walked away and were just not dealing with it, and more people were coming out, getting a bit worked up, panicked about it, and just said, ‘It’s just not worth it for our own safety.’
“It felt like if we did become in a situation that we really didn’t want to be in, and we were in that tunnel, I don’t feel like the staff would have done anything at all really.”
Other fans also took to Twitter to complain with one saying: “@JamieWebster94 was brilliant tonight but the whole organisation from the @MandSBankArena was terrible! Staff had no clue, there were long long queues, not checking tickets and scary overcrowding!”
While another added: “Boss night last night seeing Jamie Webster but the organisation at the @MandSBankArena was terrible. Ridiculous overcrowding, felt sorry for the staff just wasn’t fair what they had to deal with.”
@JamieWebster94 was brilliant tonight but the whole organisation from the @MandSBankArena was terrible! Staff had no clue, there were long long queues, not checking tickets and scary overcrowding! The E-bars were terrible and kept going down, so no one could get any drinks either
— Mike Williams (@mikewilliams992) November 20, 2022
Boss night last night seeing Jamie Webster but the organisation at the @MandSBankArena was terrible. Ridiculous overcrowding, felt sorry for the staff just wasn’t fair what they had to deal with.
— Ian Riley (@IRR_87) November 20, 2022
An investigation has since been launched by ACC Liverpool Group, which runs the arena.
Faye Dyer, managing director at ACC, told BBC News in a statement: “There were reports of overcrowding at one of the floor bars, however the crowd congestion was resolved and people were dispersed. Merseyside Police received a report of concern for safety at the venue just before 9.30pm and attended the venue for a short period whilst our events security dealt with the incident. The event was deemed safe to continue.
“The process for checking tickets is a rigorous one and we understand all appropriate checks were made on the night. The safety of our customers is of the upmost importance; we take any incident seriously and a detailed investigation has already begun.
“We sincerely apologise to both the artist Jamie, who was playing the biggest show of his life, and to his fans for any aspects of their experience which fell short of their expectations. We wish to thank Jamie and his promoter for their support in removing the encore to ensure the remainder of the show continued to operate safely.”
NME has contacted ACC Liverpool for further comment.
The venue gave further details in a set of FAQs, which said its investigation would “help us understand the issues from this event and ensure we learn from it”.
The 11,000-capacity venue was named the Eurovision Song Contest host venue recently for the grand final and semi finals in 2023.
Meanwhile, earlier today (November 22) major voting changes were announced for the competition next year.
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