Liverpool venue apologises after sensors trigger S Club concert evacuation

The Monday performance had been rescheduled from October 13 due to issues with the venue’s power supply.

Charlotte McLaughlin
Tuesday 31 October 2023 16:07 GMT
(l to r) Jon Lee, Rachel Stevens and Bradley McIntosh of S Club perform on stage earlier this month (Peter Byrne/PA)
(l to r) Jon Lee, Rachel Stevens and Bradley McIntosh of S Club perform on stage earlier this month (Peter Byrne/PA)

A partial evacuation of an S Club concert was caused by a sensor being “triggered”, venue officials have said.

M&S Bank Arena Liverpool, which hosted the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year, is conducting a full investigation into the incident.

The Monday performance by S Club had been rescheduled from October 13 due to issues with the venue’s power supply.

In a statement to PA news agency, Faye Dyer, chief executive of the ACC Liverpool Group, which runs the arena, said: “Last night during the S Club concert a back-of-house sensor was triggered which led to the arena being appropriately evacuated.

“Our safety systems are comprehensively tested and fully certified, and responded appropriately, but for reasons we are yet to fully understand our house lights did not automatically turn on as programmed which meant our manual systems were activated, resulting in a short delay.

“We can confirm that at no point were fire exits blocked, however due to the location of the activation our stewards directed individuals away from some arena floor fire exits towards others while the source of the activation was investigated.

“Customer security checks were carried out prior to the show and – as customers remained in very close proximity to the arena for a short amount of time, on private land monitored by CCTV and with additional visual checks put in place for re-entry – the decision was made for them to return to the arena so the show could resume.

“A full check of the arena and systems was carried out in the meantime with the event deemed safe to continue.

“The safety of our customers is our number one priority; however we understand the customer experience was not in line with our high standards on this occasion and for that we are sorry.

“We wish to thank the band and the audience for their patience and co-operation.

“We are proud that incidents of this nature remain rare over the past 15 years of hosting successful live events.”

There had been reports by concertgoers that that there was no option to leave via a marked fire exit.

Formerly known as S Club 7, the pop band kicked off their 25th anniversary reunion tour with a show in Manchester on October 12.

Less than 24 hours later they had to cancel their Liverpool date, saying on Instagram that they were  “beyond devastated”.

They told fans the venue had “an unforeseen technical issue impacting their power supply and therefore your safety”.

The statement also said: “We can’t begin to express how sorry we are.

“Especially as we know so many of you have travelled great distances to join us tonight.

“But your safety is our priority always. We’re rescheduling tonight’s performance in Liverpool to Monday October 30 and all tickets remain valid.”

M&S Bank Arena also apologised on X, formerly known as Twitter, and said it understood the group and fans would be “very disappointed but as the safety and comfort of our visitors is our utmost priority the show cannot proceed as planned”.

“As the technical issue is in an isolated area of the campus, we are not anticipating that any other events will be affected,” the statement said.

S Club, which now comprises Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee, Tina Barrett, Jo O’Meara and Bradley McIntosh, head to the US for performances in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston next month.

Band member Hannah Spearritt has not taken part this year and Paul Cattermole died in April, shortly after the tour was announced.

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