Long Walk Home (but it could be worse).
“Right we can do this” was the call from Brian as he bobbed and weaved his way through the throngs making their way out of the Phoenix Park after The Stone Roses gig. He was like a whippet in a foot race with zombies. The spectre of work loomed heavy on his mind no doubt. “We’ll make this bus” I was not sure if he was trying to convince himself or us at this stage but on we went only pausing briefly to shoot our hands in the air in an effort to maintain contact.
The speed at which we were travelling meant that the crowd had melded into one generic slightly paunchy 36 year old stoned Stone Roses fan. As the pain, which I can only equate to someone trying to whittle shards of bone from my shins, throbbed and pulsed; my mind flashed back to early that day when in a discussion about whether or not we would get back to Georges Quay in time for our bus I jokingly remarked “Of course we will, it’s not like the gig is in the biggest enclosed city park in Europe”. Such brevity was in short supply right now.
Wait, what’s that, it’s the shuttle bus, we had made it. The pain in my shins was now replaced with a warm sense of relief. Unfortunately this was short lived as the dilettante stood by the bus informed us that the buses were reserved for people with return tickets firstly. This of course is plainly ridiculous; it wasn’t our problem that people had chosen to shuffle out of the gig at their leisure. Our argument that we needed to get to our bus to Galway by 12:15 fell on deaf ears.
We swallowed our anger and our pragmatism kicked in as we set off in an effort to catch a taxi to Georges Quay. Eventually we got a taxi but we were never going to make the bus so instead we decided to hedge our bets and attempt to flag down the bus at Heuston Station. There we met fellow attendees of the gig hoping to flag down the same bus. So as the bus turned the corner this intrepid 6 mud flecked and exhausted but now with a modicum of hope; stood with our A4 size printouts of our return tickets aloft. Now we knew that this was not an actual stop but we all had return tickets and so we knew that the bus driver would be aware he was missing at least 6 passengers. That allied with the fact that there was this massive gig on in the park gave us reasonable hope that the driver may use his discretion and pick us up. This is not a bus to the suburbs we missed, which can be fixed by hopping in a taxi, rather it was a bus to the other side of the country. Instead we got a bus driver to beep his horn and wave at us with a shit eating grin which seemed to say “Tough shit losers”. He may well have filled his bus with people who had open ended tickets but a short stop and explanation would have cleared that up.
So about two hours marching the streets of Dublin throwing out Hail Mary text messages saw Paddy and Darren come to the rescue, lodgings were secured for the night and we made it back in the morning. It was not until Monday morning that I heard how lightly we had gotten off. The Saturday night gig featuring Swedish House Mafia had been marred by 3 drug related deaths, 9 stabbings and 1 missing person who has since been returned to her family. Reports suggest that it was a very unpleasant event and the national airwaves are alive with people, who were not at the gig, ringing up to explain what a disgrace it was and how the whole fabric of society is being pulled apart.
It may well be the case that, as a disaffected youth continues to see their life options steadily decrease instances of violence at large public gatherings like this will continue. The promoters of these gigs also have a lot to answer for. MCD were the promoters of the Oxegen festival which had steadily become a dangerous and unpleasant experience. This was their replacement, a series of concerts in the Pheonix Park which after last weekend’s debacle will surely not happen again. The park is far too large an area to properly control. There are over 1700 acres in which people can get up to all kinds of mischief before and after the concerts. The pursuit of profit has meant that there is a disproportionate number of security guards to patrons which not only means that regular concert goers, there for the shared experience of enjoying the live music of their heroes, have not only their enjoyment spoiled but also their safety compromised. It is time that whatever regulatory body that over sees the granting of licenses to promoters take MCD aside and get them to justify their business practices.