"Children were getting crushed and screaming."
British Beyoncé fans camping out overnight for a shot at tickets to her forthcoming Manchester concerts were caught in a stampede over the weekend after a group of guys violently stormed the line. This according to a highly sensationalized report from the Manchester Evening News (via Idolator), who claim that terror was in the air as these marijuana-fueled "thugs" did their dirty business. Still, it seems like it was pretty bad.
"I stayed in the tunnel outside the Arena to avoid being crushed when all hell broke loose at about 5 a.m.," a 25-year-old fan allegedly said. She'd waited in the 300-strong line for close to 17 hours. "Men were ripping open fire doors that were locked. Once opened, they fought to get through one side of a double door. Children were getting crushed and screaming. It was horrible. By far the worst night of my life."
Tickets to Bey's May 7, 8, and 9 Manchester Arena shows were set to go on sale at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, so fans set up shop in front of the box office the day before. Apparently the trouble began around 10:30 p.m. when the would-be scalpers arrived and used all sorts of tactics to intimidate those who'd been waiting patiently. They threw bottles, were verbally abusive, and offered bribes for ticket purchases.
The interlopers caused a handful of small stampedes throughout the night, and when the venue opened its doors at 5:30 a.m., there was a genuine rush for the box office, which resulted in fans nearly getting crushed. The cops were called, onsite ticket sales were called off, and everyone went home disappointed plus possibly bruised. A venue spokesman explained the situation in level-headed terms:
"Despite the best efforts of our stewards and security staff we had to involve British Transport Police in an attempt to restore order. Even then the safety of genuine fans could not be guaranteed and, following police advice, the box office remained closed. This information was communicated via our PA system and customers were redirected to the official website and phone lines for tickets." The shows sold out in 12 minutes.