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The 2009 Birmingham Millennium Point stampede occurred on 14 November 2009 when hundreds of people broke through a temporary metal barrier causing various injuries to fans during the Birmingham Christmas Lights Switch-On event held outside Millennium Point in Birmingham, while JLS were performing.

Council preparation[]

Because a free pop music concert and fireworks show was planned, sections of Millennium Point were fenced off and either marshals and/or police stationed at a few points so as to prevent any minor crimes, like pickpocketing. Trouble breaking out may have been contributed by party goers becoming over excited, plus the unofficial presence of alcohol. Councilor Steve Hollingworth from Birmingham City Council said the event had been properly organised and prepared.

Birmingham City Councillor Martin Mullaney later stated it was a failure of the fencing at Millennium Point which was the main problem, since the wind broke the solid-steel fencing down during the night and it was then replaced, with the hessian fencing used on building sites and extra security personnel.

The 'JLS effect'[]

In December 2008 during a concert in Croydon, about 2,000 fans turned up; not the planned 1,500. Five people were slightly injured at the event and 30 people were briefly detained for medical checks relating to the crushing that had taken place earlier. A teenage girl had an asthma attack followed by a panic attack and mild heart tremor in the wake of it, and a man was taken back to his home in West Wickham Street after choking on a drink during the concert. The teenager told the Croydon Guardian she was helped from the crowd after suffering both an asthma and panic attack due to the chaotic situation. The woman had been queuing since 1:00 pm and had noted that when the school kids turned up it became really busy and then the kids started pushing their way in, squashing those at the front of the queues. She also recalled that a pregnant woman was in the crowd and neither of them could move or get out. The Metropolitan Police said about 2 dozen officers were called to the bash at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, at 4:00 pm (GMT) after being alerted to a crushing incident at a local free music event and that the 15 marshals had lost control of the situation.

A similar event, in Hull, shortly afterwards attracted 3,000 people, but no one was hurt that time. A fairly popular gig in Manchester had also passed over peacefully. About 6,000 people attended the recent JLS appearance in Manchester‘s, Trafford Centre, but authorities had planned for considerably more.

A similar event, in Hull, shortly afterwards attracted 3,000 people, but no one was hurt that time. A fairly popular gig in Manchester had also passed over peacefully. About 6,000 people attended the recent JLS appearance in Manchester‘s, Trafford Centre, but authorities had planned for considerably more.

The Line up[]

Fifteen bands and soloists were scheduled to play at the event and included- Mini Viva, Girls Can't Catch, Calvin Harris, Taio Cruz, the Noisettes, Little Boots, Pixie Lott, Chipmunk, Eoghan Quigg, Natalie Imbruglia, Tinchy Stryder, JLS, the Sugababes, the Saturdays, and Alexandra Burke.

The event[]

The free event, organised by 96.4FM BRMB and Birmingham City Council, was to start at 2pm, followed by the Christmas lights switch-on at 7.30pm and finishing with a fireworks display. 

Crowds began to swell at about 1:30 pm in Jennens Lane as a crowd of about 20,000 to 21,000 began to push at the inadequate fencing. At the end of the JLS performance, an additional 7,000, approximately, forced themselves in to the area before the Sugababes could start their act and the police were overwhelmed.

Some of the fans apparently became angry with the way the concert was being marshaled and began to throw umbrellas, drinks bottles and cans at the police and marshals.

he rest of the concert and lights switch-on were immediately cancelled as paramedics set up a special triage area to treat the wounded. Birmingham City Council stated: "due to safety concerns an emergency meeting was held and a joint decision was made between Birmingham City Council, BRMB, Millennium Point and the Emergency Services to cancel the event following JLS’s fantastic performance."


According to reports, about 20,000 to 21,000 (officially) or 27,000 people (police estimates) turned up for the show at Millennium Point, which had been expected to attract just 5,000 fans.


Some 64 concert-goers were injured: four critically, two of whom had major crush injures. Two persons were crushed under a metal barrier as it collapsed in the stampede and another two were knocked to the ground by the initial surge according to West Midlands Police. West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed there had been no fatalities at the crush. Calvin Harris expressed his concerns over the lack of provision for the growing crowds.

The aftermath[]

The Government's Culture Minister and the city council's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture, Councillor Martin Mullaney blamed the near tragedy on bad weather and a failure of the fencing for the incident, but local MP for Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood blamed the city council's lack of preparations prior to the event. A government enquiry has been launched in to what had happened at the event. Councilor Steve Hollingworth from Birmingham City Council said the event had been properly organised and prepared.

All parties agreed that the late surge of fans from outside of the main event was poorly handled and that the council could have erected big plasma TV screens outside the event for those unable to get in.

An official, independent report by an offical Health and Safety consultant, placed the final blame on Birmingham City Council's choice of fencing. The usual solid fencing used was deemed to be unsafe in the high winds, so was replaced by see-through fencing that same morning. Despite this, the report concluded that pre-planning for the event was "satisfactory". It was believed that members of the public could see spaces in the crows appearing through the see-through fence and decided to climb over, resulting in the fence collapsing, causing the subsequent surge and injuries.

Related insolent[]

A similar event happened at the regularly peacefull annual Love Parade concert in Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia on July 25th, 2010, in which 19 died and 340 were injured.

See also[]


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