Birmingham Christmas Lights Stampede

On Saturday there were planned performances from top artists - like Sugarbabes, JLS, Natalie Imbruglia and Pixie Lott - as well as the switching on of the Christmas lights at Millennium Point followed by a fireworks display. However, due to what has been named The 2009 Birmingham Millennium Point Stampede, the show was canceled. An investigation into the stampede was launched by Birmingham City Council on Sunday after over 60 people were injured.

There were about 20,000 people to attend the event, but they weren’t expecting any more than 15,000. Hundreds of fans surged through safety barriers while JLS, the runner-ups in last year’s “X Factor”, were performing. This left those gathered at the front crushed in a stampeded, with 4 out of the 60 injured taken to the hospital.

There were sections of the area fenced off and authorities of some sort stationed at only a few points to prevent minor crimes or trouble breaking out among party goers getting too excited. Later, Birmingham city Councillor Mullaney said that the fencing was the main problem, as the solid-steel fencing was broken by the wind overnight. They replaced it with hessian fencing, which is what they used on building sites. They also added some extra security.

However, their attempts to secure the area were futile, as the event ended up being canceled. Witnesses at the event said that there weren’t enough officers and stewards to deal with the chaos. JLS stopped their show, and fans never got to see Sugarbabes.

Assistant director for sport and events Steve Hollingworth says that the authority did all it could to prepare for the show and will be conducting a thorough investigation. He doesn’t think they are the ones to blame, but they will look at their plans and review if they have a big enough area in the city centre for these events.


5 Responses to “Birmingham Christmas Lights Stampede”

  1. JOdie on November 16th, 2009 12:19 pm

    i was at the lights and the amount of people that got injured it was unbeleivable !!
    i was by a little boy and a bottle come flying from nowhere and hit him in the mouth
    this was the worrse yearr ever
    i fink people should start paying to see them because it was discusting how many people were getting hurtt !!

    i enjoyed seeing JLS but i wanted to see the rest of them !!!

  2. COSTELLO on November 16th, 2009 3:36 pm

    The police and stewards done all they could, my 13 year old daughter got injured in the chaos at the Christmas light switch on. The main organisers are to blame as they knew how many people turned up at the TRafford centre.

  3. Cherryl on November 19th, 2009 10:46 am

    I was at the christmas lights and it was amazing but i was very disappointed that i didnt get to see my favourite UK artists its a shame that it had to be cancelled because people cant control them selves or things werent organised properly. If the organisers had a clue what they were doing they should have been prepared for how many people were going to turn up and how they could stop further more people getting in and subsequently getting injured. This event has given Birmingham a bad reputation and is very disappointing as artists may feel they cant trust birmingham to be a safe place to go and perform

  4. Qasim Muhamed on November 20th, 2009 12:20 pm

    I was there, standing three rows from the front. What really pissed me off was that the people who couldn’t be bothered to wake up early or to come into the main area, before 2 had to ruin it for other people who waited there for a long time. I waited for 6 hours. JLS’s performance was really good :-)

  5. Paul Orchard on November 23rd, 2009 10:47 pm

    Martin Mullaney is a gimp.
    He is a councillor not a goverment minister. He spends far to much time bigging himself up on the internet. Hi is in fact an idiot who cant hold down a proper job. Thats why he got involved in politics.