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Safety concerns raised after reported 'crushing' incident at Belsonic

Belsonic sets up in Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell
Gareth McKeown

CONCERNS have been raised around safety at an annual Belfast music festival after a report of crushing at a weekend concert.

A 16-year-old girl who attended Belsonic with three friends at Ormeau Park on Friday evening told The Irish News there was a "pile on" during the performance of DJs Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike.

She explained that in keeping with the lyrics of the song 'Left to the right' the DJs called for those in attendance to jump to the right eight times and then the same to left continuously, causing her friend and many others to fall to the ground.

"There were around 10 people on top of her," she said.

"There was so many of top of her I couldn't even see her. I was very scared.

Read More: Slash rocks Belfast on Belsonic 2019's opening night

"We just had to keep getting people up. It was like a pile on with about 20 people and the more people fell the more others fell."

The young girl, who does not wish to be named, explained that her friend suffered injuries to her back and legs as a result of incident, which took place around 10.30pm and said it will make them think twice about attending another such concert in the future.

She added that the events reminded the friends of the tragic events in Cookstown, where three teenagers died as they queued for a disco at the Greenvale Hotel on St Patrick's night.

In response, Belsonic spokesperson, Joe Dougan said he was not aware of any medical complaints made due to crushing on Friday evening and no reports were made to staff.

Read More: Belfast's Ormeau Park gears up for Belsonic

He told The Irish News that from a medical and security perspective "more than substantial provision" was in place

"All of our Belsonic concerts are staffed above and beyond the legal requirement and we were well within our legal capacity for that event," he said.

"If anything we were substantially overstaffed for that event. We would generally air on the side of caution especially because that is a slightly younger audience profile.

"We work very closely with Belfast City Council, the PSNI and many of the relevant statutory bodies to make sure all of the concert goers are safe. We also employ medical consultants on site in the unlikely event that they are required," Mr Dougan added.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service could not be reached for comment.

Belsonic is taking place across the month of June in Ormeau Park. Headline acts for 2019 include; The Killers, George Ezra and Hozier.

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