x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Hundreds of youths gatecrash Dubai show

The youths plotted the gatecrash over social media.

Wiz Khalifa performed in the United States earlier this month.
Wiz Khalifa performed in the United States earlier this month.

DUBAI // Hundreds of teenagers pushed down a gate and stormed into the Wiz Khalifa concert in Dubai Media City on Friday.

Concertgoers said they saw a crowd of about 200 teenagers forcing their way in just before Wiz Khalifa and Tinie Tempah came on stage to perform.

The youths had been lingering outside the venue for an hour before they pushed down the gate and disappeared into the crowd.

About 500 youths were escorted from the amphitheatre during the performances after they were found without wristbands, organisers said yesterday.

Zack Mekawi, the marketing and events director at Luxury Concerts, which organised the show, said security was spread out so the teenagers could not be stopped.

"We had about 21 security personnel on ground to ensure the smooth running of the show," Mr Mekawi said.

"But hundreds of them just barged in, the situation was out of their control."

Mr Mekawi said the security officers scanned the audience of about 8,000 at about 9.15pm to ensure only those with wristbands were at the venue.

A teenager from Syria who had not paid to attend said friends had proposed the break-in on Facebook and had organised it by sending out messages on BlackBerry "because we needed a big crowd to do it".

"We do this at every concert," he said."We did it for David Guetta and Snoop Dog. Why should we pay Dh400 for a two-hour concert?

"We cannot afford tickets and so this is what we do."

The age limit for attending the concert was 16, and concertgoers who wished to access the bar had to get a second wristband by producing their ID.

Many in the audience were not happy with the security provisions at the event.

A father of two teenagers who attended described the organisation as disastrous.

"When I went to pick them up at 1am, there were kids shouting and screaming on the road in Media City," said the parent who did not wish to be named.

"There was not one police car or officer in the area and no one to control the situation."

Mr Mekawi said his company had ensured security measures were in place and provided proper guidance to the audience at the event.

aahmed@thenational.ae

molson@thenational.ae