‘X Factor’ Fans In Stampede

Up to 30 fans of “X Factor” finalists JLS were injured in a stampede at a concert Dec. 8.

Nearly 3,000 youngsters, mainly teenage girls, gathered outside a theatre after learning that the boy band was to film a concert in its hometown of Croydon, South London.

Witnesses said tempers flared amid the mayhem and two girl gangs began fighting. A section of the crowd reportedly surged forward, pushing fans at the front into crash barriers.

“Everyone was being crushed. Then these girl gangs started fighting. At one point there were six girls attacking just one. It was so scary,” one onlooker told the Daily Mirror.

“When police cleared the area there were people just laying on the floor. I was being pushed so hard I couldn’t breathe. I was being crushed, it was terrifying.”

Four girls were hospitalized. One was treated for a fractured wrist, another for abdominal pains and two for breathing problems. As many as 30 fans were treated outside Croydon Fairfield Halls.

One police officer said organisers had not provided enough security.

“There were only 15 security people on crowd control because they were expecting 1,500 maximum. If we’d been asked to police the event there would have been around 200 of us to control crowds,” he said.

JLS was due on stage at 6 p.m.

“The size of the crowd was crazy – we felt like we were Michael Jackson or The Beatles,” JLS member Aston Merrygold said. “We were scared for the fans. We had to sit in a Hummer because the police were worried what would happen if we turned up.”

It took two dozen police more than three hours to calm the crowd before they would allow the band on stage to perform three songs.

JLS, mentored by Louis Walsh, is in the “X Factor” final Dec. 13 against Alexandra Burke and Eoghan Quigg.
All three acts were performing in their hometowns Dec. 8. The concerts were filmed and will be screened on finals night.