Crowd congestion at the Liverpool venue due to host the Eurovision song contest later this year was not acceptable, its operator has reportedly admitted.
ACC Liverpool, which runs the M&S Bank Arena in the city, acknowledged that people had been left in extremely long queues for the bars and toilets, which in turn caused problems for people trying to get into the venue for the sold-out Jamie Webster concert. The congestion got so bad that some fans complained one area felt unsafe, the BBC reported.
The broadcaster said it obtained a draft internal report into the incident from ACC Liverpool after a freedom of information request. It said that found the problems started when a new bar payment system crashed, causing queues for two bars.
Those queues met other long queues for the toilets, as well as merging with people coming in through the main entrance to create “unacceptable” crowd congestion, the report said.
ACC Liverpool said it had “immediately revisited and revised our layouts and processes in relation to crowd flow” after the concert on 19 November last year and was “accelerating” plans for new bar and toilet facilities.
Some fans had said the venue’s entrance was so crowded they and others were too scared to go in. Paul Lang, from Birkenhead, told BBC Radio Merseyside: “At least 15 to 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’.”
Liam Kelly said a steward initially stopped letting people in because it was overcrowded – before she left and “there was this chaos at the door where everyone just started to walk in”. Kelly described the experience as “really horrible”, adding: “It was the entrance way and the bar area that were absolute chaos. You couldn’t move. It took ages to get through.”
According to the BBC, no injuries were reported and the show went ahead, although Webster was forced to cut his encore.