Festival attendees left ‘extremely distressed’ over pushing and congestion in Friday queues
The organisers of the three-day Longitude music festival in Dublin have issued an apology after festival-goers complained of long delays and tightly packed and “overcrowded” queues at entrances.
Some attendees said on social media they had to wait for over an hour to gain access, while others alleged there was “overcrowding” and “crushes” in the queues.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Saturday, managing director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn apologised for issues at the entrances to the Marlay Park site.
“The opening hour of yesterday’s entry was not what I wanted. We had encouraged people to arrive early, and they heeded the encouragement to a greater level than anticipated, making that first hour difficult. I owe those caught up in it an apology.”
He added that every one “caught up in the shock of the uncomfortable start” had later been able to enjoy the day. “My teams have worked throughout the night to improve the entry for today [Saturday] and tomorrow [Sunday] so everyone can enjoy Longitude at its best.”
Mr Benn said there was “no incidents of any broken arms, legs or any major incidents” from any attendees in the queues on Friday.
The organiser said gates had opened on Saturday at 1:30pm and “all entry points are flowing freely”.
Emma Broughan (19), attended the festival on Friday and was caught in long queues heading into the event.
She said she arrived at Marlay Park between 3pm and 4pm on Friday. “Crowds of people were in the area with minimal Garda presence; upon entering the official entrance queue we were left in a stagnant queue for close to two hours,” she said.
Ms Broughan described how “people began to get irritable and started to push and shove others within the queue”. She said the delays in processing people’s tickets meant some individuals had started to shove others forward.
“There was a young girl beside me who had a full anxiety attack, which I have previously experienced, and I had to try comfort her,” she said.
Ms Broughan said she bought a three-day festival ticket, but will not be attending the Saturday and Sunday events due to her experience on Friday.
“Myself, amongst many many others, were left extremely distressed,” she said.
A number of photographs published on social media showed large crowds waiting to get through the barriers into the festival.
Gardaí said they had only one report of an injury at the festival on Friday. One girl received stitches after she was struck on the head with a bottle.
Security measures at many Irish festivals this summer have been heightened in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the UK and gardaí said extra officers were on patrol at the venue this year.
Concert-goers have been urged not to bring any backpacks or large bags to the festival.
Large bags and backpacks are not be allowed and only small bags measuring no bigger than A4 will be permitted.
Gardaí said anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to enter.