Ed Sheeran concert: Extra security after overcrowding complaints

Fans claim there was only one entrance and exit into standing area on Wednesday night

Extra security will be in place for the remaining  Ed Sheeran concerts in the Phoenix Park.  Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Extra security will be in place for the remaining Ed Sheeran concerts in the Phoenix Park. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

New security arrangements are going to be in place for the remaining Ed Sheeran concerts at the Phoenix Park tonight and on Saturday following criticism from fans who attended his concert on Wednesday.

Fans complained the standing area at the venue was significantly overcrowded and there was only one way in and out of the main arena.

There were also complaints that a large merchandising stall in the middle of the arena blocked the view for many fans.

Emma Coyne, who attended the concert on Wednesday, said: “There were kids crying trying to get out to the bathroom.

“There were women going to the toilet in the middle of the actual arena because they couldn’t get out,” she said.

“It was such a huge area and yet there was only one entrance to and from the main arena to the place where the toilets and the food trucks were. It was madness.”

She claimed she witnessed fans seeking to get out of the venue by side exits which were blocked off. When stewards stopped them from exiting, some fans pulled down security barriers.

“People were losing the rag and screaming at the guys at the side exits because nobody was letting us out at the side,” she said.

Other fans took to social media to complain about the arrangements.

‘Crowd crush’

One said on Twitter: “I’ve been to many concerts in Phoenix Park but I’ve never been to one as poorly organised as Ed Sheeran . . .50 per cent of the crowd couldn’t fit inside the venue and inside there was a crowd crush. Worst concert I’ve ever been to.”

Eamon O’Boyle, a senior safety officer at the concert, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland a number of measures are going to be put in place for the concerts on Friday and Saturday night.

Ed Sheeran fans enjoy his concert in the Phoenix Park. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Ed Sheeran fans enjoy his concert in the Phoenix Park. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

“We’re going to increase the level of security with a team of 30 people policing this particular area itself to make sure this won’t occur,” he said.

“We’re going to create a sterile area at the entrance so people don’t congregate within that area.”

Mr O’Boyle said while there was adequate space within the venue “the problem was that people stopped to look at the concert and then they created a blockage there.”

Organisers are also putting in place a one-way in and one-way out system. “This will enable people within the venue to get out to the area where there are the various services like food availability and toilets and that,” he said.

Claim that fans arrived late

He suggested much of the congestion around the entrance area occurred because so many fans arrived late for the concert.

“The other thing we are asking people to do is to come early. On the first night of the concert, this was the seventh in a series of nine concerts, the arrival pattern was different from what we experienced in other venues, as normally Ed Sheeran goes on stage at 8.45pm at night, in all of the other venues everybody was in by 8.30pm - it was a bit later in the Phoenix Park.

“At around 9pm, shortly after Ed Sheeran went on stage, we noticed there was some discomfort around the entrance and we immediately intervened with the assistance of gardai and the stewards and cleared the area.”

Mr O’Boyle said it was important to state nobody was injured. “The reason why it happened is people arrived late: in fact when Ed Sheeran went on stage we had excess of ten per cent of fans still coming into the arena.

“The whole incident took a ten-minute period. Throughout the period we were observing from a very extensive control room within the concert where we have extensive CCTV coverage of all the entrance and approach routes to the venue.”