Complaints of 'crush' at Fintona country music concert

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Media captionVideo taken by Damian Rafferty at the country music concert in Fintona, County Tyrone on Saturday.

Dozens of people have complained they were "crushed and trampled" at a country music concert in County Tyrone.

AJS Promotions, who organised the concert in the Ecclesville centre in Fintona on Saturday, said they were overwhelmed by the crowd.

Police said officers managing traffic spoke to the organisers to get more doors open.

David McMahon from Castlederg, who was at the event, said he saw people being "crushed and trampled on".

'Absolute disgrace'

He added: "They were still selling tickets at 9 o'clock (21:00 BST) on Saturday night and we were told that around 4,000 were already sold.

"We are very lucky we are not looking at death today. The amount of people that were crushed and shoved was disgraceful.

"There were a couple of hundred people coming and going all the time and at one point everyone made a mad panic to the doors. I have no idea why the doors were closed.

"My wife and I were terrified. We were shoulder-to-shoulder for a long time.

"There was no stewarding inside the actual hall.

"We stood back and at one point there were people lying on top of one woman."

Mr McMahon also said that singer Derek Ryan had to stop his performance a number of times.

Andrew Short, from AJS Promotions, said: "I was in the middle of it with security men. The music was cut and we made an announcement.

"We opened the bottom doors and directed people to the bottom of the arena to create a one-way system.

"The gate outside however had been closed. So with our safety plan, there was a disruption and music was stopped.

"I wouldn't call it a stampede. I would say it was more of a bottleneck or a standstill.

"This was the hottest ticket in the country and, ok, the main entrance was not big enough to cope with the surge of people."


Councillor Allan Rainey, chairman of the Ecclesville centre, said: "I understand the incident took place between the marquee in the courtyard and the actual arena with people coming in and out.

"I was told that the police closed the door for a period of time to sort out the issue.

"There were around 30 security members at hand along with our own staff."

Rachel Noble, whose sister's hen party was at the event, said: "I'm still disgusted by what happened.

"It was an absolute disgrace and scenes that I have never seen before in my life. It really is a miracle no-one was killed.

"It all started with pushing and shoving and as more people came streaming into the hall it became horrendous. It was terrifying."

Police at first said they had not been called to the event over crowd safety but later said officers were there "as part of the traffic management plans".

In a statement the Police Service of Northern Ireland added: "Officers became aware of an issue in relation to the number of people attending and spoke to the organisers in order to ensure additional doors were opened for entry and exit.

"A number of members of the public were injured during this event and a number of police officers also received minor injuries."