Yesterday we headed over to Lovebox courtesy of our friends at Vice to celebrate the Noisey stage and as much as we were looking forward to the day, unfortunately things didn’t go as planned. The day started out well as festival goers partied to some great electronica, house and dub in the indoor venue that was styled as a run down New York hotel, complete with yellow taxi coming out of the roof. There was a really great atmosphere not only in the Noisy venue but all over the festival.
There was a dance-off in the Fringe area, where they were playing some old-school hip-hop and R n B tunes and we stopped to watch a lesson in swing dancing at a tea dance. We then headed over to see the first live act of our day, Metronomy, who I have previously interviewed for Dazed Digital (will post on OhDearism soon) and who had everyone dancing to their happy and catchy electronic sound.
However, on returning to the Noisey arena to see Flying Lotus, the problems began to start. When we got to the arena, there was a pretty sizable queue to get in, which stretched all the way across the site, blocking people’s access to the toilets and VIP area on the other side. This queue, waiting to get into the closed-off inside area was only being managed by a handful of security guards and a couple of measly barriers.
As Flying Lotus began to play, the crowd got pretty excited and people started to push and the queue started to get out of control. However, rather than calmly managing the situation, for some unknown reason one of the security guards started saying, “This way to come in guys,” and ushering people out of the queue and towards the front door, which resulted in a massive stampede to get in.
At this point the crowd became completely out of control by the too few security guards, who scampered out of the surge and resulted in the barriers being forced down by the crowd. Me and my boyfriend got stuck in this surge as we were already at the front of the queue and I got separated from him and crushed in the crowd. As well as getting squashed, my watch also broke so I’m pretty annoyed at the situation. Not to mention that apparently one girl got really badly hurt. So the end of the story is they had to shut the venue and we didn’t get to see Flying Lotus or Hudson Mohawke.
As much as I really like Lovebox as a festival and Noisey as a host, I can’t believe this was managed so badly. In all the festivals I have been to, I have never seen an indoor area used as a main stage, let alone one that only has one way in and out. As the security guards were trying to get people out and stop people surging in at the same time, they had an unsafe situation on their hands, not to mention the lack of communication and idiotic actions of the one guard who was ushering the crowd out of the queue and towards the entrance.
After being told the Noisey stage was shut for the rest of the day, we headed to the Rinse stage to see Miss Dynamite and Skream, which improved our moods and made up for it but I’m still really disappointed at the organisers for letting this happen. Crowd surges are a really dangerous problem and should not be taken lightly by festival organisers and security staff. Do better next year Lovebox!!