‘Overcrowding’ row blights music festival

Crowds packed into the Platform on Saturday afternoon.
Crowds packed into the Platform on Saturday afternoon.
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AN events promoter has complained there were too many people at his music festival - blaming the council for neglecting health and safety.

Keith Louis, an organiser of last weekend’s Morecambe Tutti Frutti 1950s event, said crowds were so big inside The Platform on Saturday afternoon there could have been a crush.

Mr Louis said staff from Lancaster City Council, which owns the seafront venue, should have capped the numbers spilling into the building to prevent overcrowding.

“I’d like to apologise to the people of Morecambe,” said Mr Louis.

“The festival went really really well, the bands were great and it was nice to see so many people there, but I was frightened.

“It was chaotic. I counted 550 people. All exits were blocked. If people had to get out of the building in an emergency there could have been a problem.”

A woman who was at the festival, who wished to remain anonymous, also told The Visitor she believed a “dangerous” number of people had been allowed through the doors.

“It was so busy people were leaving the building, walking around the outside and coming through another entrance just so they could get to the bar,” she said.

But the council claimed “no more than 300 people were in the venue”.

Coun Ron Sands, tourism cabinet member on Lancaster City Council, said: “The weather on Saturday afternoon was atrocious and unfortunately the event could not take place outside as planned.

“The staff at the Platform pulled out the stops to ensure it could go ahead inside the venue and did not have to be cancelled.

“All of the Platform staff are extremely experienced in determining crowd numbers.

“The capacity for an event such as this, had it been ticketed, is usually 350 and therefore the audience was within the capacity limits.

“Although it was certainly busy, appropriate security and staffing was in place to ensure the event took place safely and all of the venue’s three fire exits were clear and available.

“Health and safety at all of the city council’s venues is a primary consideration and rigorous procedures are in place so events take place safely and without incident.”

The festival was held on Friday and Saturday featuring live music from 50s rock ‘n’ roll bands. Mr Louis thanked his fellow organisers, the acts, sponsors and local hoteliers.

See this week’s Visitor for a double-page picture special of action from Tutti Frutti.