A city centre’s Christmas lights ceremony turned sour at the weekend when scores of people were injured in a crowd surge.
The lights were eventually turned on yesterday in Birmingham during the city's annual reindeer parade. It was a low-key event compared to Saturday’s planned switch-on by X Factor stars JLS.
A free concert featuring several chart-topping acts had to be cancelled after four people needed hospital treatment and 60 others were injured when a crowd surged forward during the JLS performance, breaching a metal barrier put in place to protect members of the public.
The free event, also set to feature The Sugababes, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, Little Boots and Alexandra Burke, was cancelled as paramedics set up a medical unit at Birmingham's Millennium Point to treat the injured.
Yesterday, JLS said they were “devastated” by what had happened.
A statement on the band's website by group member Marvin said: “We are so, so sad to see that people got injured at the gig.
“It was meant to be a great event with some other amazing acts on the bill and we're just gutted that everyone's day was spoilt.
“We just hope that everyone who was injured has a speedy recovery.”
An investigation has been launched by Birmingham City Council, which organised the event.
But assistant director for sport and events Steve Hollingworth said the authority had done everything it could to plan for the concert and had made the right decision in cancelling.
He said: “We planned for the event with the emergency services, we put measures in place.
“We were expecting a crowd of about 20,000 people, which our measures took account of,” said Mr Hollingworth.
“We put a perimeter fence in place to make sure we could monitor the numbers of people in the arena, and at 1.30pm we closed the arena.
“Due to the unprecedented amount of people who turned up and were pressing against the perimeter fence, the fence was breached.”
He said the council would now have to think carefully about staging similar free events in the city.
“The Christmas lights switch-on has grown year on year.
“It started on one of the smaller squares in the city and has grown, so is now in Millennium Point,” he added.
“We have to look at the space we have in the city for such an event in terms of whether we have free concerts in the future.”