The scene outside the disco at the Clayton Silver Springs Hotel on Thursday night was described as “chaotic” by parents who collected their children from the end-of-exams celebration.
Three units of Cork City Fire Brigade were called to free girls trapped in a lift in the hotel. Security, it emerged, also prevented hundreds of teenagers from entering the disco. Tickets had cost up to €27.
Those who attended subsequently complained that advertised attractions such as celebrity appearances, a chocolate fountain, and photo booths, were not available on the night.
It was also claimed that the event was split across two floors, which saw friends separated from each other and denied free movement between the separate rooms.
Cork East TD Tom Barry said his daughter had attended the event. “It was chaotic,” he said, of the scenes outside the hotel.
“There were kids all over the crossover, the flyover, crossing the road; it was just manic. It was a safety issue all the way,” the Fine Gael TD said.
Meghan Airey went to the hotel with a friend to collect her sister. She said they “couldn’t believe the amount of teenagers in one place”.
“When we arrived there were teenagers everywhere on the grass in Silver Springs, with security guards chasing them around, shouting at them and shining their torches into their faces,” she said.
Both Mr Barry and Ms Airey said it took 45 minutes to collect their family members from the hotel.
Organiser Adam Courtney of Pineapple Entertainment said 200 teenagers turned up without tickets, hoping to pay for entry at the door, and a further “two to three hundred” had counterfeit tickets. He said between printed tickets and online sales, he had sold exactly 1,200 genuine tickets.
However, in a statement yesterday, Clayton Silver Springs Hotel said they had agreed with the organisers a maximum event capacity of 1,000. The hotel said it had no part in organising the event.
It said: “1,200 students were admitted into the venue, 200 more than was agreed, and unfortunately for fire and health and safety reasons it was not possible to admit any more. Many students were unable to gain access to the event.”
A spokesperson for Eventbrite, the website through which tickets were sold, said due to a confidentiality agreement it could not disclose how many tickets it issued for the disco and, furthermore, it was a matter for the event organisers.
Mr Courtney said that 500 printed tickets were sold, with another 700 issued via Eventbrite.
It a statement, AOS Security said it was hired “to facilitate a capacity of 1,200”.
“Anyone who is a parent of teenagers will understand the requirement to raise voices to give directions which was required last night to ensure the overall safety of the children while managing traffic and to comply with the fire officer directive,” the security company said.
Mr Courtney said genuine tickets will be refunded, and encouraged those concerned to contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
He said advertised attractions were withdrawn due to capacity concerns and claimed that had been announced weeks in advance.
The Eventbrite website, however, yesterday still displayed the planned attractions.
When asked, Mr Courtney did not say whether those who bought tickets, expecting those features, would also be refunded. “We’re going to have to think about that. We have to sit down with our solicitor and have a talk,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to have to learn from. It’s a big lesson for me.”