Crowd safety limits to be set for Sunderland Stadium of Light gigs

Crowds at Coldplay's Sunderland Stadium of Light gig in June 2012
Crowds at Coldplay's Sunderland Stadium of Light gig in June 2012
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ONE of the key elements of this summer’s series of concerts is expected to be put in place today.

Councillors are recommended to approve a Special Safety Certificate for the Stadium of Light’s three big gigs this month.

Club bosses had to apply for an additional certificate to cover the Bon Jovi and Rihanna shows, as well as North East Live, as they only have permission for events surrounding football matches.

The documents will set the maximum capacity for each show, with 42,703 allowed in to enjoy US rockers Bon Jovi on June 13.

Rihanna’s show will boast the largest attendance, with a maximum of 57,556 pop fans packing out the Stadium on June 20.

North East Live, two days later, will see up to 31,726 enjoy music from the likes of JLS, The Wanted and Rita Ora.

A report for the council’s regulatory committee suggests councillors grant the application, but also states further checks must be carried out once temporary structures, like the stage, are in place.

“Due to the nature of the events, some of the detailed event planning matters are still to be finalised with areas such as the construction of temporary structures for general admission, staging, sound and lighting to be fully evaluated, and inspected when delivered to and erected on site,” says the report.

The report also notes the establishment of an advisory group made up of representatives from the council, police, fire service and ambulance service, who will work to ensure all fans enjoy the gigs safely.

Ken Scott, chairman of the advisory group, said of the job: “It’s a mammoth operation for everyone involved, and the planning and preparation for welcoming thousands of visitors at a time begins months in advance.

“Preparing the city to safely host so many people involves painstaking attention to detail. This includes things which might not normally be an issue.

“For concerts, we are dealing with a lot of people who are first-time visitors to the Stadium of Light, so signage and stewarding are extremely important aspects of the operation to keep people safe.

“Our job is to identify and minimise the risks as best we can, help people move around the city safely and efficiently, and make sure that the only thing they have to do is enjoy their visit to Sunderland.”