Long cathartic post!

This weekend will mark one year since I met the hair thief.  I have at times also referred to her as ‘that crazy bitch’ because to be honest what she did was outrageous – disgusting – inhumane – uncalled for – you get the picture.  I would never wish this on anyone, but on the flip side worse things happen and I refused to let it get the better of me.  This is the first time I’ve written all this down like this and I am hoping it will help me draw a line and move on and forget the whole incident as much as possible.

Although – psychologically it has surely done something.

Mentally it has too.

Physically it really bloody did.

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So let us back track a little bit.  Some of you know about this, some of you know a little about this and some of you will know nothing about it at all.  Last year, 10 November 2012 myself, my younger brother and a friend got tickets for the Vans Warped Tour.  I thought it was the first time it had happened in the UK but I think this is wrong – I think it used to be in the UK as well but hadn’t happened here for many years.  So it was kind of a big deal.  My friend had been going through quite a horrid break up so it was a great night out for her – we hoped.  It was also a birthday present from me to my brother – well I sure gave him a birthday that he wouldn’t forget!

We turned up to the event and we watched many bands.  We tried and failed many times to get to the merchandise stands.  The venue was too full.  Apparently there were 10,000 people inside Ally Pally but you couldn’t move.  The security were out of their depth and at one point they did something  that seems like it should be highly illegal due to health and safety, and they stopped anyone from leaving the main room.  There were two doors in and out of this room and rather than having one door as an exit and one door as an entrance to keep the traffic moving they kept closing one door altogether making the problem double.  People were being shunted back and forth between these two doors with one constantly closing in front of their face.  We heard people getting really angry and decided that was the time to go and get something to eat.  The bar staff were being brilliant at checking people’s ages and how much people were drinking but sadly one of the sponsors had girls going around handing out free shots of Jager bombs to people – they were not checking ages, they were not checking how many they were giving to the same people.  Bit silly but there you go – we personally kept well away – we were there to enjoy the music not get drunk and throw up thanks!

Anyway – the band I really wanted to see that weekend was New Found Glory.  We went and all three really enjoyed it.  We walked out of the main room to check who to see next.  The crowd was moving SO slowly.  I was practically wedged in between the wall of the side of one stage, the door to the main room and the people around me.  A girl came flying through the crowd in front of us, pushing people out of the way and shouting, incoherent, I looked up because I heard the person in front of me swear at her for being pushed.  The next thing I knew was these fingers in my face, poking at my eye.  I knocked the arm away and looked up to see what was going on.  I locked eyes with this ‘girl’ that looked crazed.  Her eyes were bulging, she span around knocking people and ran at me.  I hardly had a second to know what was going on but because of the crowd situation I had nowhere to go when she ran full force at me.  With one hand she grabbed by arm, pinning it to my chest, with the other hand she grabbed at my hair and she used her body weight and the crowd to knock me to the floor.  I am 5’10”, it’s a little way to the floor, my poor head was smashed onto the concrete floor with nothing to break it but air.  She was on top of me, I was concussed.  She was pulling at my hair so hard.  I was aware of people around but it was like I couldn’t hear anything – my head went into overdrive as to what to do.  I was desperately trying to pull my legs up so I could use my feet to force her off me.  I am the kind of girl that walks around in a bubble thinking about unicorns and sparkly things – I’ve never been in a fight in my life but I know I have strength in my legs.  The pain in my head was immense.  I realised I had lost a lot of hair…..I had no idea just how much though!  The other side of my head that had hit the floor was throbbing.  Before I could get my feet up properly I felt myself being pulled into the air.  A security guy had grabbed me by the arms and pulled me above the crowd to get me out of there.  He put me on the floor and asked me what she had done.  That to me was quite telling – he didn’t ask what was going on – he asked me what SHE had done.  I said I had no idea that she flew at me from nowhere.  I asked the nearest person to me what had happened, he said she was psycho.  Others told me she was dragged away by security and that she was kicking and screaming and was going mental at them – trying to scratch at their faces.

I remember putting my hand to my head where I knew I had lost some hair and the sensation of touching bare skin – which didn’t even happen at my birth…..anyway – I can’t begin to describe that – but I looked at my friend to ask her if it was bad – before she could fake it – I heard a gasp and I ran off to the toilet.  I was so pale it was untrue, a weird shade – a hint of yellow…..deathly.  The lights in toilets are always unflattering but damn – there was nothing positive about the bald patch and the blood on my head – the bruising coming up on my face……hideous quite frankly….and not my fault!

Security never came back for me.  No one from the venue ever came to help.  Many people in the crowd around had tried to help and I thank them for that, I didn’t get to thank them at the time – not all of them – I didn’t even know just how many had reacted until I was told later on, so thank you guys and girls, whoever you are.  I was informed that the ‘girls’ friends had stood back shacking their head as though she does this all the time.  They looked ashamed of her.  I wouldn’t even bother being friends with such a person to be honest with you.

It’s crazy what happened.  I still can’t quite get my head around it.  Anyway – I was in shock for a while and not sure what to do, same for my brother and my friend, we found somewhere quieter and away from all the crowds and took a moment.  It was then I felt overwhelmed and started to cry and had the need to phone my boyfriend.  As I was telling him what had happened one of the door staff heard and rushed over.  He explained how I could make a statement, which I went and did.  The girl I gave the statement too was horrified at what had happened and how the security had just left me.  She apologised but ran off to try to find out if the attacker was still there.

I was left again and no one came to help.  We went back to my friends, my boyfriend met us on the way – he’s not one to show his emotions but when he saw my face and my head he said he almost cried.

I sat at my friends for a moment and touched my head.  Handfuls of hair was coming out, obviously what had been caught up in what hair I had left.  That night the same thing happened again and I was getting VERY panicked .  The next morning I went to casualty.  They too were in shock and the nurse I saw informed me I was the 50th person they had seen alone from the warped tour.  This really shocked me as it wasn’t the only hospital in the area and he wasn’t the only nurse.  I was rushed through to see a doctor who did some tests and told me to stay off work.  I had naively thought I wouldn’t have to tell anyone and could just carry on as normal.  I had a few trips to the hospital and the same doctor made sure she saw me bless her.  I also had to go to the police station and give a statement and have some photos taken.  The policeman who took my statement was amazing and he phoned Ally Pally and the security on a number of occasions – he was even angrier because the police had a trained team up at Ally Pally to deal with any assaults and not once had the venue of the security informed the police, in turn it would appear the security just let this girl go.  I did hear about someone else being attacked and I really hope it wasn’t the same girl that did anything.  It’s absolutely shocking that a police team was there and rather than take this girl to them the security just let her go, I am baffled and gob smacked and think this was really, really bad to put it politely.  Heaven knows what this girl has gone on to do in the last 12 months.

What I do remember of this girl was she didn’t appear to have much hair and much of what she did have seemed to be stick on extensions or something weird.  Maybe that’s why I was targeted (I have thick long hair) who knows, maybe she mistook me for someone, she seemed totally off her head and as though she was running from something – and the security were hot on here tail so who knows.

I contacted someone at warped tour to talk to them about what had happened to say about the security flaws and the drink being given out, I can’t change that this happened to me but I naively thought I could help them stop this happening to anyone again.  The person I spoke to wasn’t very sympathetic but eventually seemed to want to help and asked me to get quite involved in helping them to not let this happen again.  They even said that they didn’t want this to be my memory of warped tour and offered me two tickets with backstage passes in case the crowd freaked me out.  (Incidentally these tickets were never sent to me.  And to be honest with them having made no changes why on earth would I want to go back but it was a principal thing here – this was meant to be something from them to make me not have such a bad memory of warped – way to add to the bad memory guys.)  Anyway, I wrote out a huge email for him, really trying to help.  He never responded to it.  Weeks later I chased him about this and he was almost rude with his reply and told me to send it again.  So I did.  I never heard another word!  Incidentally a friend of this guys works as the event organiser at Ally Pally! I say no more but make your own conclusions on that one.  I spoke to the police and they told me they didn’t believe half the things this guy had told me, I had informed them of what this person from Warped had said about it all and the policeman told me he was lying.  This left me with some confusion and mistrust for sure.  I then found out that the police had demanded the CCTV footage from that night and apparently damaged copies that were unplayable were sent instead, since February they have been asking for the originals to be sent and they never have been, in fact they police have apparently had no reply from anything since.

This has left me pretty pissed off, disgusted with the security, ally pally and warped tour to be honest.

My hair thankfully is growing back but I had about 5 months with a huge bald patch on my head.  My hair grows fast and it started growing back before the skin on my head had healed and it was SO painful.  I was off work for a while with concussion.  I lost quite a lot of money from this, as well as hair ;o(  My friends were amazing at sending me hats and hair decorations so that I could try to hide the bald patch.  I still have a lot of head pains.  I had to have physio and acupuncture for a shoulder injury that I was told had torn fibres in my neck and shoulder and I was suffering from whiplash, which will take a long time to heal apparently and I have to do exercises every day to help it.  I have some memory problems following this too and as it’s not been a year I am being told that this might just be the way it is from now on, there is still a chance the memory will return to normal but the longer it goes on the less likely that is apparently.  On top of that I have noticed that I am really not comfortable being out on my own at night – this never used to be the case.  This has been the most horrific incident and I guess in some ways it is debateable what could have been done to stop someone doing this but I think it’s disgusting how the venue and organisers have responded since and how they haven’t really tried to improve things for this year, and that worries me.  Having seen them struggle with crowd issues again at the firework display recently I do wonder about this years warped tour.  It would appear that the paperwork I filled in on the night of the incident never got filed, that procedures weren’t followed correctly, that I left to fend for myself, that the girl wasn’t handed over to the police, that the CCTV was not handed over, that communications were just cut, that warped tour let me down, the list goes on and on and I am left, 12 months on, with injuries.  Disgusting really.  All over the internet are reports of people saying the security couldn’t cope and were out of their depth, I didn’t have to search for these comments they were all over the place.  Apparently though the security team and Ally Pally never informed warped tour of what had happened to me, nor about the girl that was put in a wheelchair……..

This event changed my life, most definitely not for the better.  It sure gave my brother a memorable birthday too but not in the way I would’ve liked.

So yes, on Sunday it will be one year….and warped tour is about to happen again and I am pretty sure I will never be a part of it again.  In my attempt to be positive wherever possible I will say that at least I got to see New Found Glory.  This happened minutes after being really happy at having seen their set.  That was the last time I saw them.  I hope that I can see them again and make a happier memory soon.

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