Venue to review Hardwell gig

The owner of a Belfast entertainment complex where last week scores of drunk teenage concert-goers required medical treatment is to review the planning of the gig.

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More than 100 people were attended by medics, and 18 subsequently taken to hospital, in and around the Odyssey Arena, where Dutch DJ Hardwell was playing to a crowd of 10,000.

The announcement by the Odyssey Trust, which owns the arena and adjacent entertainment facilities in the Odyssey Pavilion, comes after police launched their own investigation into Thursday night's events.

Around 300 young people were refused entry to the premises - some of whom were drunk and others too young to gain entry to the 16-and-over gig.

Around 40 required care from medics, ambulance crews and charity volunteers who set up an ad hoc treatment area outside.

Inside the Odyssey, 68 concert goers needed medical assistance. There were also reports of a number of fights breaking out and widespread drug taking.

A major incident was declared by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and in two of the city's hospitals, where extra staff were called in to help.

None of those admitted to hospital was deemed to be in a serious condition.

In a statement today, the Odyssey Trust said: "Following the events of last Thursday night, the Odyssey Trust has announced that it will carry out a review.

"The review, which will be chaired by the chief executive of the Odyssey Trust, Robert Fitzpatrick, will meet with all of the relevant stakeholders involved; assess the preparation and event plan made for the night; the implementation of that plan and the effectiveness of the Odyssey Arena and its partner organisations to deliver that plan.

"The review will conclude with any recommended actions arising."

It is expected that the review will be completed by Friday February 21.

In the wake of the incident, Odyssey Arena general manager Adrian Doyle said, as with any concert, the safety of patrons was an absolute priority at all times and the event control team was confident that it had sufficient staff on site to maintain a safe and enjoyable concert.

He said anyone who turned up to the event visibly drunk was not allowed in.

Mr Doyle also insisted the number of adverse incidents inside the arena were not on an unusual scale.

Hardwell was named the world's number one DJ in the 2013 DJ Mag top 100 DJs poll.

His hits include Spaceman, Three Triangles (Losing My Religion) and Apollo.

Last month dozens of fans camped overnight or queued for hours on a Belfast street in pouring rain for a ticket to his show.

Following Thursday night's scenes in Belfast, the City of Edinburgh Council suspended the licence for a DJ Hardwell dance event at the Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston on Saturday night.

The organisers of the Scottish date of Hardwell's tour Colours said on their Facebook page today that they had hope to reschedule the show for another date.

Arts and Entertainment

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