“How beautiful does this look?” was one of the hand scribed cards that Fat Boy held up to the camera for the big screen at the Brighton Beach “Big Beach Boutique II” gig on 13.07.02. I could not have agreed more. After an epic journey, from Harrogate starting at 04:30, 6 of us arrived in Brighton around 11:00 am, to be blessed with a free parking spot for our campervan, 10 minutes walk from the stage. We hung out on the beach, in a top spot, (near the main stage camera) all afternoon, guarding our turf. We noticed things getting really busy around 16:00, and by 17:00 you could not move. We were lucky in the respect that we took plenty of water with us, but if we had not, there would have been no easy way for us to get to a source of drinking water (my main criticism of the organisation along with getting to the massively over subscribed toilets, and the very badly organised public transport infrastructure). A few thousand bottles of water passed around the crowd every now and then would have been good. Once the tunes started, and everyone stood up, us and our neighbours seemed to have more space, along with a superb view of the show. By the time the sun set behind the stage, we all knew that this was something really special. A legend of a gig. I could not get my head round how busy it was, as I looked behind me I could see a packed crowed right down to the entire beach. A flotilla of boats had anchored just out from the shore, all the balconies of the Grand Hotel, and the roof of the Brighton centre were packed with people, the promenade, the road, the walls – everywhere possible were people. To think it was busier than Glastonbury, on an area that would have struggled to support 60,000 it’s incredible it didn’t turn into a massive disaster. Reading the papers after the gig, I was naturally saddened to hear of the death, and the injuries etc. [UPDATE 18:55 I have just read on the official site that the heart attack was unconected to the gig and that there were only 15 submission to the hospital – less than that of a normal Saturday night in Brighton – who’s negative spin was that then?!? – and an estimate of 240,000 turned up] On reflection, It could have been a lot worse – the crowd management was very well co-ordinated all things considered. I’m hoping that ‘the decision makers’ will see the good side of it, and they will allow it again. Perhaps someone should have thought (or subsequently learn from the mistake) “Hang on.. advertised nationally on TV, a free party hosted by one of the worlds biggest DJ’s, in one of the UK’s most loved summer towns… I think there may be more than 60,000 who turn up we’re going to need much more resources”
From my own perspective, I’m going to stick with my happy memories of what happened. A truly fantastic, ‘once in a lifetime’ brilliant experience.
WATCH THIS SPACE – PICTURES FROM THE GIG HERE SOON