The size of the crowds at the Jamboree in Tyrone on Saturday, headlined by Derek Ryan and Nathan Carter, is testament to the popularity of the country music scene, the stars’ managers have said.
Almost 4,000 people attended night two of the three-day event in Fintona, compared to a crowd of around 1,000 the previous evening.
Derek Ryan’s manager Brian Jordan told the News Letter the crowd surged from the marquee into the main arena when they heard the singer’s “dramatic” opening.
“Derek’s introduction is very dramatic,” he said. “It is a medley of old-style radio versions of some of his hits and there is a pretty dramatic light show.
“So that is when I imagine a lot of the fans would have thought ‘That’s our man on stage’ and come from the marquee into the arena where Derek had just arrived on stage”.
It is at that point the sound stopped and crowds trying to get into the marquee met those walking out to the bar met in the 12-foot wide tunnel.
Members of the crowd were injured in the stampede, as well as some police officers.
An investigation has since been launched into what happened.
Brian said Derek would have been informed there were some crowding issues but did not see any of what was going in.
“His performance was interrupted about three of four times in that period,” said Brian. “Otherwise though he was oblivious, where he was people were having a great time.
“Stopping the performance for a short time was a small price to pay, the safety of the fans is paramount. For anyone who suffered minor injuries we of course sympathise.”
Nathan Carter was “chilling out” in the green room when the stampede took place, his manager John Farry said.
The country superstar was not due on stage until 11pm, and thought there was simply a problem with the sound.
When he took to the stage a few hours later Nathan received a resounding welcome, John said.
“Our gig was great,” he said. “I think it really is testament to the popularity of these kind of events. Obviously we would be concerned for anyone injured as a result of the crowd numbers.”
Asked if they would return to the venue for another gig both men said their acts would do so if assured security arrangements had been reviewed.