'A strange sense of anarchy I had never experienced before'

Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 01:00

EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNT:SEEING A drunk male teenager collapse to the ground in front of me as I made my way into the Phoenix Park last Saturday was the first sign of the type of day that was about to unfold.

The entrance gates from the city centre seemed small for the surge of people entering the event.

After about 30 minutes of being squashed in a poorly organised queue, my friends and I were forced forward by drunken revellers who had grown impatient waiting to get in. A young male steward frantically tried to scan each ticket as the crowd pushed forward, but he and another young woman struggled to hold the crowds back as dozens of people burst past them.

There was no security around to help the pair and my friends and I entered the event without needing to show our tickets.

The first thing I noticed when walking through the crowds was the drink- and drug-fuelled atmosphere and a strange sense of anarchy that I’ve never experienced at a gig before.

I’m 21 and regularly attend gigs and festivals that feature a wide range of music genres but this was different from any outdoor concert I’d been to before. Binge-drinking, drugs, antisocial behaviour, pushing and shoving is expected at these types of events but last Saturday it was on a different and dangerous level.

People were in no way discreet about their drug use because they didn’t have to be – they weren’t being challenged by security.

On two occasions, I witnessed people emerge from the crowd soaked in blood.

Everywhere I looked, revellers were mindlessly endangering those around them. Many of the concertgoers should have been refused entry into the chaotic event in the first place.

The most disappointing thing for me was that the crowd completely overshadowed the talent performing on the day. For a lot of people attending, it wasn’t about the music.

Many may blame the genre of music for attracting a certain type of crowd but the truth is, plenty of festivals dedicated to dance music take place across Europe and do not result in the destructive behaviour that dominated the gig last weekend.

Excessive drinking, particularly among young people, is a growing social problem in Ireland. It takes place in pubs and nightclubs across the city every weekend. This time round it was just showcased at a larger event.