Many expressed their safety concerns on social media as police ordered Brighton train station to close with services to London temporarily suspended.
Passengers said the area around the train station descended into “mayhem”, with photos posted to Twitter bearing testament to the chaos as vast crowds amassed and people complained of being crushed.
“We were appalled to see that Pride-goers were standing for long periods of time, at the end of the event, while waiting to access Brighton Station,” the statement read. “People's safety was put in jeopardy by GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) and the station's failure to plan for adequate train service.”
It continued: “We successfully and safely cleared the event site at the Park in less than 30 minutes, with roads around the park clear and open again in under an hour. We thank everyone who attended the Pride Festival at the park for the way in which they left the area calmly and peacefully.”
Despite this, several Twitter followers have highlighted the danger they faced while attempting to leave the site following Spears' first UK show since 2011.
Brighton music photographer Jamie MacMillan stated he had “never felt as unsafe” than he had not just after but also during last night's performance. “People couldn’t move or breathe, no security or first aid in sight,” he tweeted.
“Leaving the site was fine in the end, but the crush at Brighton Station was potentially deadly. Not just ‘someone getting hurt’ unsafe, but ‘potential for multiple fatalities’ unsafe,” he wrote, describing station staff as “rabbits in headlights.”
Police said they decided to close the station in a bid to impose crowd control measures, but the measures left many of the 57,000 people who attended the event stranded with many reportedly resorting to sleeping on the beach.
Earlier that evening, Spears had stunned fans with a 90-minute performance filled with hits including “...Baby One More Time” and “Toxic.”
"We ran 15 extra trains yesterday in addition to the plan agreed with the event organisers to cope with the unprecedented visitor numbers."
The spokesperson assured revellers GTR is "talking to the organisers and police about whether we need to enhance today's timetable with extra capacity."
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