The deputy chief executive of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, Kevin Myers, took exception to the claim by concert promoters that Bruce Springsteen’s weekend concert at Hyde Park had to be shut down “in the interest of the public’s health and safety.”
Soon after the concert the promoter, Live Nation, issued a statement on its website that “It was unfortunate that the three hour plus performance by Bruce Springsteen was stopped right at the very end but the curfew is laid down by the authorities in the interest of the public’s health and safety. Road closures around Hyde Park are put in place at specific times to make sure everyone can exit the area in safety.”
However, Myers, who was among the 76,000 in attendance that night took exception to the claim, writing, “The fans deserve the truth: there are no health and safety issues involved here. While public events may have licensing conditions dictating when they should end, this is not health and safety and it is disingenuous of Live Nation to say so.”
The Boss’s July 14 performance came to an end just as the recording artist wrapped up a second number with Paul McCartney, but before the two could thank the crowd.
Despite garnering criticism from members of the band, and even the mayor of London, the promoters continued to defend the choice Tuesday in an e-mail to the Wall Street Journal, in which Live Nation’s Chief Operating Officer for Europe, Paul Latham, wrote:
“For the last 12 months we have been fighting the good fight with the Local Authority and their licensing teams to retain the ability to stage concerts in Hyde Park. The current licenses were granted on very strict noise restrictions, traffic plans and curfews with the ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over any future events if we broke any of the conditions. Suffice to say the residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of City Hall and Parliament.”
The same day Latham’s e-mail was sent, Springsteen made hay out of the fiasco at the start of his next stage engagement in Dublin, flipping on an oversized power switch onstage before starting his first set.