Cookstown Hotel Crowd Crush 2019
On a day of national celebration, 3 people lost their lives whilst attempting to gain entry to a nightclub in Northern Ireland (17th March 2019). The facts on this incident are unclear at the time we write this blog; so we will not assume anything and wait till the investigation is concluded.
For any person to lose their lives attending an event is tragic. What should have been a night of celebration, turns into horror and suffering and is totally unacceptable. When watching the news reports, it is challenging to wrap your head around how this can happen in a small Irish town.
The sad thing though, the signs are there that nightclubs are not as safe a place to attend as say a stadium, arena or larger venue. There seems to be a lack of appreciation that it does not take 10’s of thousands of people to have a crowd related incident. This can happen with a couple of hundred.
When you think of a good size nightclub, they will take a couple of hundred people. Now, they will have a capacity set by the local authorities and checked every once in awhile to ensure they are sticking to it. But, I am sure there are always a few out there that will let a few more in.
There is nothing a nightclub manager loves more than a queue outside the door. It means that it attracts attention, “look at the size of that queue, that must be a popular club, let’s join it.” Not as much a problem at the start of the night (it the queue in well managed), but as the night goes on and the place fills up, then there is more chance of that queue still being there when the club is full.
Who controls that queue?
Now thinking back to the SIA Door Supervisors course we took many moons ago, pretty sure queue management was not part of the course work. Now a lot of those big lads standing on the door will not see that as their job, they think they are there to knock drunks back or kick them out (yes, that is a stereotype and does not apply to all)
So, again……who controls the queue?
The incident in Ireland, sadly is not a freak event. There are well documented incidents of loss of life or injury at nightclubs. This does not include the volume of near misses that occur weekly. How many times do you see on social media, comments like, “the place was packed”, “the joint was rammed”, “that was chaos outside trying to get in the club”.
What is missing?
What is missing between a nightclub and a concert venue? Both are part of the night time economy. Is it training? The difference between door staff and crowd management? Understanding of the venue management of the risk a crowded place can be?
Whatever it is, things have to change. Nightclubs have to realise that they are a crowded place, and as such need managed in the same way.