Slane in lockdown in build-up for Gallagher invasion

MUSIC fans at this weekend’s Slane concert were urged to avoid a repeat of tragedies that marred the last Oasis concert at the castle.

Security has been tightened around the banks of the Boyne, with Lord Henry Mountcharles – the aristocrat behind some of Ireland’s biggest outdoor gigs – asking people to keep away from the dangerous river.

Two people drowned when the Manchester band played back-up to US rockers REM in 1995.

“This is a particularly poignant show. The last time Oasis played in Slane was in 1995 and we did have a problem, we had a tragedy in the river,” Lord Mountcharles said.

“So I would like to emphasise to the general public – the River Boyne is a very beautiful thing to look at but please, members of the public, do not go near the river.

“The Boyne is a dangerous river and we do not want any repeat of past events.”

Bathing has been prohibited between Stackallen bridge and 1km downstream from Slane bridge, and fans have been told there is no access to the castle from the river.

Warnings have also been issued on forged tickets and a list of dos and don’ts for Saturday’s event have also been detailed as finishing touches are put to the stage.

On the banned list are fold-up and inflatable chairs, umbrellas, spikes and glass, cans and alcohol.

Crowd-surfing is on the blacklist as is “moshing” by crowds at the front of the stage along with camping and early morning queues.

Gardaí yesterday issued a stern warning to concert-goers: “Don’t travel without a ticket, you won’t be allowed through the barriers.”

Meanwhile, the Meath village will be closed to all but local and emergency traffic from 6am on Saturday until about 2am on Sunday.

“The emphasis is on using public transport as much as possible,” said Garda Superintendent Mick Devine. Past patrons of the event, he said, have experienced waiting for up to 90 minutes to leave the car parks and begin their journey home. “This is what happens,” he said, advising there will be numerous bus services dropping and collecting people.

Weather-wise, Met Éireann are forecasting bright spells with a good deal of dry weather and some good sunny spells developing.

Lord Mountcharles added: “This weekend I hope that the rain in Slane falls mainly in Spain.”

A huge gathering of the Gallaghers’ extended Irish family is expected to descend on Slane Castle for the concert.

And welcoming them with open arms Lord Mountcharles said: “A combination of the Prodigy and Oasis in the year 2009 is hard to beat and I’d like to officially declare Noel and Liam Gallagher honorary Slane people.”

He also thanked the people of Slane for giving the concert the go-ahead.

Gates open at 2pm on Saturday, with the first act, The Blizzards, taking to the stage at 3pm. Glasvegas are due to go on at 4pm ahead of Kasabian at 5.30pm and The Prodigy at 7pm. Oasis begin at 8.30pm although promoters MCD have warned the times may change.

* Full details of the traffic plan are on the garda website at www.garda.ie.

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