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Clubbers lives put at risk by overcrowding in Ibiza
by Mat Southwell, spokesperson for Dance Drugs Alliance

The Dance Drugs Alliance, the recently formed organisation to represent the rights of clubbers, has made a formal complaint to Cream about overcrowding at its night in Amnesia in Ibiza on Thursday 18th August 2000.

Mat Southwell, the national spokesperson from the Dance Drugs Alliance, was out in Ibiza for a two week clubbing holiday with friends and had chosen the Cream night to see Paul van Dyk.

"I have never seen such overcrowding in over ten years of clubbing," said Mat "People's lives were definitely put at risk. If a smoke or CS canister had been let off in Amnesia that night, clubbers would have been killed. God help us if there had been a fire."

The Dance Drugs Alliance welcomes Cream's practice of putting their own staff on the door alongside representatives of Amnesia. However, when Mat Southwell questioned the overcrowding, he was told that at 2.30am only 2,000 people had entered the club and that the club's capacity was 5,000.

"I was horrified," said Mat "There were already queues ten deep to get into the main room and safety was clearly being compromised. The only way they could have got another 3,000 clubbers in that night was by lying us down and stacking us up!"


Interestingly, in light of Cream staff's comments, Mat Southwell was given a ticket by Amnesia staff with the number '003671' and Cream were also letting pre-paid tickets in through a side door. Mandy, another clubber there on the night said: "In the half hour I queued to get into Cream at Amnesia, I saw about 60 people with tickets let in through the fire door."

Mat Southwell's concerns about overcrowding were dismissed by door staff and he was told to email Cream on his return to the UK.

"This is typical of how complaints are handled in Ibiza," said Mat "The high turn over of clubbers through the season prevents repeating problems being addressed and on this occasion people's lives were put at risk."

When Dance Drugs Alliance representatives approached Cream back in the UK, they were told that the night had achieved near capacity. Jane Casey, from Cream, has followed through on the Dance Drugs Alliance's concerns and has requested copies of videos taken on the night.

Cream argues that the problem was due to crowd movement within Amnesia rather than too many people being let into the club. Cream were aware that people were being let in via a side door and said that prepaid ticket sales were known about in advance of the club opening. In addition, Cream advised the Dance Drugs Alliance that the money count after the event also allowed them to double check numbers on the night.


Mat Southwell said in response that: "We welcome the fact that Cream have taken our concerns seriously. We are sure that the video evidence will shock them. They have responded to our enquiries appropriately. We are only sorry that their staff on the night failed to meet these standards."

However, the Dance Drugs Alliance has also called for a review of club capacity levels in Ibiza.

"On some levels it is more frightening to think that these numbers may be legal." Said Mat Southwell. "Apart from the safety issues, we believe clubs are in breach of contract with us as we couldn't physically dance or see our DJs of choice."

The Dance Drugs Alliance has also called for there to be controls on numbers within clubs rather than just relying on basic door counts. This is the policy operated by Cream in Liverpool where the movement of crowds between the club and the courtyard is effectively regulated to ensure clubbers safety. However, it was known that the Cream event in Ibiza would be busy as 'Mixmag Out There' (Mixmag's Ibiza publication) said in advance of the night in question: "Cream is absolutely rammed this year, and this week is set to be even bigger than ever." (Ibiza Issue 8 - 12.8.00)

"Failing to manage the movement of clubbers within a club, is like letting a capacity crowd into a football ground and then letting everyone stand at the same end," said Mat Southwell.


The Dance Drugs Alliance accepts that UK Club Promoters do face genuine problems in running nights in clubs that they do not own or fully control. However, many clubbers attend UK promoted nights expecting the same standards that they would find at home. However, this incident proves that this is sadly far from the case.

Collective action is required from club promoters and owners to make Ibiza 2001 safer. The Dance Drugs Alliance is also calling for an independent 'Clubbers Comments Service' for Ibiza 2001.

The Dance Drugs Alliance will be developing a proposal for a low cost and easy to run service that would allow clubbers to advise club promoters and owners of problems either in Ibiza or on their return home.

"It is no longer acceptable for dismiss the views of clubbers." Says Nicky Bath from Dance Drugs Alliance. "We will be approaching the industry in the closed season with a proposal for a 'Clubbers Comments Service'. Good promoters and owners have nothing to fear from listening to the voices of clubbers."


The Dance Drugs Alliance is about to launch its Charter. Helen Peyton from the Dance Drugs Alliance looks forward to a time when no club night in the UK (or UK promoted night in Ibiza) will take place without members of the Dance Drugs Alliance being present.

"We are grass roots clubbers like everyone else. It's a hassle complaining and we would much rather just have a great night out. However, when problems do occur we hope we can work constructively with the industry in all of our interests."

Contact Details:

Mat Southwell - Spokesperson - Dance Drugs Alliance:
Landline: (020) 8986 5475
Mobile: 07989 400790

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