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Dreamland Tragedy. Shameful Council Does Nowt

Credit Stefan Costen

The tragic death of  a young woman at a Margate Dreamland gig two weeks ago raises very serious questions about  the quality of event  management at the venue. It also raises questions about  the willingness of the council and Thanet’s politicians to take action to ensure the safety of hundreds  of thousands concert goers who will be descending on Dreamland in the next few months.


Dreamland’s owner,  Live Nation Inc, proudly describes  itself “as the world’s leading live entertainment company”. Such is it size and domination of the international live entertainment industry  that it   recorded  a staggering $22.57 billion in revenues for 2023.


It would be reasonable  to assume that with its vast, global wide,  experience of live music promotion, plus its enormous wealth,  Live Nation  events would be  amongst the  safest in the world and that the incident at Dreamland was an unfortunate,  one off,  tragedy. Not so!


In the US , where Live Nation Inc began its life,  media reports have blamed the company   for the deaths of hundreds of music fans, venue staff,  and artists,  and  for causing  injuries and trauma to thousands more.  


In 2022,  following a horrendous crushing incident at the Live Nation  Astroworld festival in California in which ten people died,   US Congressman Bill Pascrell demanded  the breakup  of the entertainment giant precisely because of its long and appalling safety record.


Here in the UK in December 2022 two people died, one person was badly injured,  and hundreds of concert goers psychologically damaged by a crushing event at  the Live Nation owned Brixton  Academy in  London. A police investigation into the tragedy is still ongoing, but publicly released documents suggest that  mismanagement by Live Nation   contributed  to this terrible event.

 

Following the incident the licensing authority for the Brixton Academy, Lambeth Council, immediately revoked all entertainment permissions. It was only in April 2024, eighteen month after the tragedy,  that the venue was allowed to reopen subject to compliance with extremely tough safety conditions.


It cannot be right  that this  large multi-$billion international concert promoter and owner of Dreamland is  allowed, following this awful tragedy , and its past track record of poor safety  management, to continue business as usual at Margate.


Like Lambeth Council  TDC must insist on the immediate halt of all concerts at Dreamland until a full investigation has been completed into the death of the young concert goer and  until robust safety procedures capable of  dealing with all security and safety issues related to a  large concert venue  have been agreed between Live Nation, the police,  and the council.


I am delighted  to see that  Cllr Mark Rattigan has expressed similar views and hope that he will fight hard to persuade his colleague councillors to force TDC  to take decisive action against Dreamland, but I’m not holding my breath.


 All the sign appear to indicate that  this tragic incident is not being taken  seriously by the powers that be at TDC. The Council has not made any public statements about his terrible event, even though it licences Dreamland events.




The Labour Leader of the Council Rick Everitt, as far as I can establish has made no public statement on this issue either. Nor have Labour’s  Margate Central ward councillors, Rob Yates and Helen Whithead who appear to have been publicly silent about a  tragedy  which happened  in their patch.  To her  discredit Labour  MP, Polly Billington, who’s constituency includes Dreamland, has also been publicly silent about the death of the young concert goer.


This silence tells me that TDC  and its elected politicians intend, unlike Lambeth Council , to do absolutely  nothing  to hold Live Nation and Dreamland to account. Perhaps this is because TDCs Labour administration is terrified by the economic power of Live Nation,  which the company has already used before to force TDC into granting permission for a longer and busier events season and the extension of evening closing times.


I would have thought that the safety of those  hundreds of thousands of  concert goers who will attend Dreamland gigs during the summer season would be more important than appeasing and cow towing to an international monopoly interested only in profiteering and extorting its punters. But isn’t this what the new Labour Government is all about – putting the interest of big business, no matter how dodgy, before those of ordinary people.


I will be writing more about Dreamland and Live Nation soon.


Call out if you have any information about Dreamland which you would like to share please contact me on 07866588766 or ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk. 100% confidential  

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