Obstructed guards, overturned security barriers, noise in the neighborhood: Internet users have regretted on social media some events that took place during the Metro festival last weekend, in Montreal.
In some videos that have gone viral on Instagram and TikTok, festival goers can also be seen entering the site without paying or even fighting. Joined by task, the organizer of the event Olivier Primeau condemns these actions and specifies that an internal investigation is underway to uncover these actions. “These are actions that are not justifiable. These events are unfortunate, but we are in it and we are here to improve. »
Olivier Primeau believes that the fact that there have been very few festivals of this scale in the last two years due to the pandemic may have played a role in irritating some festival participants. “But that does not justify [ces agissements] “, However, he says.
According to Véronique Comtois, public relations officer for the de la Ville de Montréal Police Service (SPVM), five festival participants were arrested, including one for assaulting a security guard and another for an armed assault on an officer. police. , which is currently under investigation.
Sports journalist Daphnée Malboeuf went there with a heartfelt call on Twitter, despairing the lack of security guards around the festival. “To go home, I walked in the middle of the street because I was afraid to walk on the sidewalk, near the alleys, as it was not well lit,” she explains, raising the large number of drunk people who harassed her as she returned. at home after a day of work.
Post-match reflection: Would it be too much to ask of the festival organizers? #MetroMetro to add security around the event? You do not feel safe returning home, e.g. people in a state of severe intoxication. It seems to me that this is the least ?! ????
– Daphnee Malboeuf (@DaphneeMalboeuf) May 23, 2022
“I think it’s up to the municipality to look at the proper functioning of a festival that is already worrying residents,” she says. However, she emphasizes that “it is a festival that displays local artists” and that it is normal that when you are in the city there is a lot of noise and a lot of people. “But not feeling safe going home is what motivated me to write [les tweets]. »
At the time of writing, the office of the mayor of Mercier – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Pierre Lessard-Blais, did not respond to our request for an interview.
“People were eager to celebrate”
Student Samie McNicoll attended the festival on its opening day last Friday. She says she has never felt in danger, but nonetheless notes that the crowd was special, according to her. “We are coming out of the pandemic, I felt that people were eager to celebrate. »
During rapper Lil Pump’s show on Friday night, she reported that Olivier Primeau had to interrupt the concert by appearing on stage to prevent the crowd from enjoying themselves. age pit, which can become violent. or age pit occurs when members of a crowd clash with each other in a brutal dance form, often at the foot of the stage.
“It is done in some festivals. “When we see that things are very upsetting at the front, we calm the enthusiasm,” explains Olivier Primeau, who adds that the organizing committee has warned the artists that any encouragement. age pit would result in the cancellation of their concert.
Last November, it was, among other things, such crowd movements that led to the tragedy at the Astroworld festival in Houston. During a concert by rapper Travis Scott, ten people lost their lives, were asphyxiated and trampled by the crowd, while hundreds more were injured.
Despite this warning, student Samie McNicoll decided to leave a song before the end of the evening’s final show. “It became heavy; it had become the norm to push people around you. “At least it was easy to get out,” she said.
Olivier Primeau is planning a third edition of the festival next year, still in the Olympic Stadium sector, but not necessarily on the esplanade, believing there may be more space near Saputo Stadium. He says he is confident about the future of the event, which went on sale last weekend.
“This is the second year we are working with the construction site and there is already a big improvement compared to the first year,” he said, in addition to planning to increase the workforce next year to limit damage to the neighborhood.
“It will be very important to have more off-site presence,” he believes.